During the end of the Bush administration, Turkey began to position itself to fill the leadership vacuum in the Middle East. Turkey is one of the most economically and politically powerful states in the region. Its government brokered negotiations between the Syrians and the Israelis. Yet while those negotiations demonstrate the strength of Turkey’s ambitions, Carnegie’s Henri Barkey suggested that “the importance of these negotiations should not be exaggerated;” no real deal could have been made without U.S. involvement and approval.
Addressing concerns that the United States and Turkey are becoming increasingly estranged, Barkey asserted that “the big problem between the United States and Turkey is Iran; everything else is just a sideshow.” Ultimately, he concluded, the Turks and Americans remain important allies and will continue to cooperate on the multitude of regional issues where their interests coincide.