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The U.S. Needs Turkey for Its Middle East Agenda

When U.S. President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan meet in Washington, D.C. in early December, the two leaders will have no shortage of issues to discuss. Continued challenges in the broader Middle East and South Asia will most likely consume the majority of the leaders’ time together.

In the past few years, Turkey has initiated an assertive and proactive diplomatic approach throughout the Middle East, seeking "zero problems" with neighbors and aiming to achieve strategic depth by expanding the zone of Turkish political and economic influence. Before and throughout the Iraq war, Turkey led an effort that brought Iraq’s neighbors together to address issues of common interest. Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu has initiated intensive bilateral diplomacy with many countries in the region, resulting in extensive bilateral agreements with two neighbors, Iraq and Syria, in October of this year.

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