A “defense umbrella” for Cold War rainy days: TurkishAmerican relations (1947-1990)


  • Melek Aylin Özoflu




This brief article seeks to shed light on the interdependence that emerged in Turkish-American relations during the Cold War era in the face of Soviet threat. The alliance was based on keeping the balance of power in a tight bipolar world order. On the US side, the inclusion of Turkey in the US defense umbrella was recognized as a primary US interest in pursuing the policy of containment regarding Soviet expansionism, because of the geopolitical position of Turkey. On the Turkish side, the US was regarded as a security guarantor in the face of Soviet territorial demands. Thus, the rapprochement between the US and Turkey in deterring Soviet aggression was shaped heavily by a strong ‘mutuality of interest’. The paper provides an overview of the evolution of US-Turkish relations as they were shaped by the realities of the Cold War era. Thereby it also illuminates underlying reasons for Turkey’s attachment to the West during the Cold War. This paper argues that the high level of Soviet threat resulted in the US and Turkey sharing common ground in their foreign and security policies. In order to explain the alliance behaviour observed, the paper adopts balance of power theory based on structural realism’s assumptions of international relations.




How to Cite

Aylin Özoflu, M. (2018) “A ‘defense umbrella’ for Cold War rainy days: TurkishAmerican relations (1947-1990)”, Corvinus Journal of International Affairs, 3(2), pp. 55–59. doi: 10.14267/cojourn.2018v3n2a7.