The Beltway establishment has been mulling over the following issues for some time: Has Turkey's axis shifted? Are the Turks turning away from the United States and getting closer to Russia?
Turkey's critics in Washington allege that its axis has shifted – to such an extent, indeed, that the country's NATO membership deserves to be scrutinized. A smaller number of American experts, who are no less critical but undoubtedly more committed to the Turkey-U.S. relationship, express concern about deepening cooperation between Ankara and Moscow.
There are many reasons why U.S. observers are inclined to think that way. Turkey's search for an independent regional policy is on top of that list. The Turks no longer meet Washington's demands when Turkish and American interest is at odds. When the two countries have shared interests, however, Turkey remains capable of maintaining a warm relationship with the United States. Needless to say, the convergence of national interests has recently become harder to witness. An obvious exception is the joint effort to increase the annual trade volume to $100 billion. Likewise, Turkey and the United States have similar approaches to the situation in Idlib, Syria.
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