Document Type



International Relations

First Advisor's Name

Mohiaddin Mesbahi

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Charles MacDonald

Third Advisor's Name

Aisha Musa

Fourth Advisor's Name

Thomas Breslin


Turkish foreign policy, American foreign policy

Date of Defense



This study examines the contours of Turkish-American foreign relations in the post-Cold War era from 1990 to 2005. While providing an interpretive analysis, the study highlights elements of continuity and change and of convergence and divergence in the relationship between Ankara and Washington. Turkey’s encounter with its Kurdish problem at home intertwined with the emergence of an autonomous Kurdish authority in northern Iraq after the Gulf War that left a political vacuum in the region. The main argument of this dissertation is that the Kurdish question has been the central element in shaping and redefining the nature and scope of Turkish-American relations since 1991. This study finds that systemic factors primarily prevail in the early years of the post-Cold War Turkish-American relations, as had been the case during the Cold War era. However, the Turkish parliament’s rejection of the deployment of the U.S. troops in Turkey for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 could not be explained by the primacy of distribution of capabilities in the system. Instead, the role of identity, ideology, norms, and the socialization of agency through interaction and language must be considered. The Justice and Development Party’s ascension to power in 2002 magnified a wider transformation in domestic and foreign politics and reflected changes in Turkey’s own self-perception and the definition of its core interests towards the United States.





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