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Why Turkey’s political crisis should matter to Americans

May 10th, 2015
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If every time you see a news story on the political crisis that could destabilize Turkey, you go to the next news article, because you think what goes on there has no impact on your business, job or family, I suggest you consider the following:

• Turkey, a majority Muslim country has been a stabilizing influence in the volatile Middle East, shares a border with Iraq, Syria and Iran. It was the only Muslim country to have direct diplomatic relations with Israel prior to the signing of the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel in 1979.

• Turkey has provided a safe haven for the tens of thousands of refugees fleeing from Syria’s brutal civil war and was a vocal critic of Syria’s use of chemical weapons.

• Turkey is a strong on-the-ground political and military counterweight to the dangerous chaos that has engulfed Syria and threatens to ignite civil war in Lebanon, as well as growing violence in Iraq.

In short, a more violent and destabilized Middle East increases the potential for elevating America’s military presence, which would be a bitter pill after more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The risk of a Middle East region wide armed conflict is higher without the calming influence of a politically moderate Turkey.

Turkey plays a critical role in supporting Europe’s economy. The EU and Turkey are major trading partners. Turkey is also a major source of guest workers to supplement Europe’s declining labor force, which is critical to supporting a recovery of Europe’s economy. An economically healthy Europe is vital to the stability of the global economy and to grow the U.S. economy.

Only Turkey’s leaders and citizens can solve its political crisis. We can only hope that cooler heads prevail and Turkey stays on a moderate political course.

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