OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON
February 19, 2023
The United States and Türkiye: A Key NATO Ally and Critical Regional Partner
Türkiye and the United States are North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Allies and longstanding partners. We have a proud history of working together in times of crisis and on regional security and prosperity. The United States will remain committed to providing necessary assistance to those affected by the devastating earthquakes on February 6. More information about U.S. assistance to emergency earthquake response efforts in Türkiye and Syria is available on the Earthquake Assistance Fact Sheet.
U.S.- Türkiye Relations: A Longstanding Friendship
The U.S.-Türkiye friendship dates to 1831, when the United States established diplomatic relations with the Ottoman Empire. After World War I and the founding of the Turkish Republic, the United States established diplomatic relations with the Republic of Türkiye in 1927. The Economic and Technical Cooperation agreement – signed July 12, 1947, between the United States and Türkiye – advanced the relationship further. A NATO member since 1952, Türkiye has supported missions around the world, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Balkans.
The U.S.- Türkiye Strategic Mechanism
On January 18, 2023, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu held the fourth meeting of the U.S.-Türkiye Strategic Mechanism, an extensive dialogue on a broad range of areas of bilateral and regional cooperation that emphasized the significance of our partnership as NATO Allies. Secretary Blinken and Minister Çavuşoğlu discussed ways to bolster NATO coordination and solidarity in the face of current threats and challenges. They reaffirmed their long-standing commitment to collective defense as Allies, as well as to NATO’s Open Door Policy. They discussed strengthening the U.S.- Türkiye defense partnership including the modernization of Türkiye’s Air Force, reaffirmed their long-standing commitment to collective defense and NATO’s Open Door Policy, and discussed the implementation of the trilateral memorandum signed by Finland, Sweden, and Türkiye to advance Finland and Sweden’s application to join the NATO Alliance.
Regional Security Cooperation
Türkiye is an important U.S. security partner and has been a valued NATO Ally since 1952. Türkiye serves as NATO’s vital eastern anchor on the straits of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles, which link the Black Sea with the Mediterranean. Türkiye contributes to international security alongside U.S. forces in Europe, Africa, and in the Mediterranean. Türkiye borders Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, and is a key partner in the surrounding region. The United States and Türkiye work closely to reduce tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean in accordance with international law, pursue peace in the Balkans and the South Caucasus.
The United States and Türkiye stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity against Russia’s brutal war. The United States welcomes Türkiye’s consistent and clear support for Ukraine and its diplomatic leadership in working with the UN to broker the Black Sea Grain initiative and support global food security.
The United States and Türkiye maintain close coordination and collaboration in the efforts to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Secretary Blinken condemned the November 13, 2022, terrorist attack in Istanbul and affirmed the United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Türkiye in its fight against terrorism. Both nations maintain close coordination and collaboration in the efforts to fight against terrorist organizations, notably ISIS/Daesh and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
People to People Ties
The American and Turkish people enjoy broad and deep ties, built through tens of thousands of academic exchanges; commercial, cultural, and scientific collaboration; and civil society cooperation. Through various U.S. government academic and professional exchanges, over 150 Turks participate in programs in the United States every year, and around 115 American students and faculty participate in programs in Turkey. There are now approximately 31,000 Turkish alumni of U.S. government educational and professional exchange programs. The United States is the most popular international destination for Turkish students. During the 2021-2022 academic year, the number of Turkish students in the United States rose 4.4 percent over the previous year, the highest rate of increase in more than a decade. Since 2001, the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation and Embassy grants have provided nearly $4 million for projects to preserve Türkiye’s unique and diverse cultural heritage, including the Gordion Archeological Project. The U.S. – Türkiye Cultural Property Agreement, signed in 2021, helps preserve and protect Türkiye’s unique and diverse cultural heritage and is an example of the United States’ enduring commitment to work together with our Turkish partners.
Bilateral Economic Ties
Türkiye and the United States share a robust and growing economic relationship. Over 1,700 U.S. firms, including many of the largest and most recognized brands, are active in Türkiye and have been for decades. Given its proximity to markets in Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia, Türkiye is an advantageous regional hub. Around 60 firms maintain regional headquarters in Türkiye, and according to AmCham Türkiye, U.S. firms have invested more than $60 billion and created more than 100,000 jobs. In 2022, total trade in goods reached $33.8 billion, an almost 22 percent annual increase and an all-time high; this follows a 32.5 percent increase in 2021. The U.S. remains Türkiye’s 4th largest overall trading partner, and the 2nd largest foreign investor, a position the United States has held since 2003. Türkiye’s total FDI stock in the United States increased by 16.6 percent over the 2017-2021 period to $2.7 billion. U.S. affiliates of majority Turkish-owned firms supported over 4,900 jobs and helped grow U.S. exports by $37 million in 2021.