Author: Jim Zanotti, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs
Several Turkish foreign and domestic policy issues have significant relevance for U.S. interests, and Congress plays an active role in shaping and overseeing U.S. relations with Turkey. This report provides information and analysis relevant for Congress on the following: – Assessments of U.S.-Turkey relations and Turkish foreign policy. – Various aspects of U.S.-Turkey cooperation against the Islamic State organization (IS, also known as Daesh, ISIS, and ISIL) in Syria and Iraq, including border security and discussion of “safe zones,” foreign fighters and smuggling, refugees, and complications regarding Kurdish groups. – Turkey’s November 24, 2015, downing of a Russian aircraft and a possible improvement of Turkey-Israel ties. – Key issues regarding Turkey’s domestic politics. These include controversies and questions involving Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi or AKP) following the AKP’s November 2015 electoral victory, and the Turkish government’s renewed hostilities (since July) with the longtime Kurdish nationalist insurgent group PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party or Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan).