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Failure of the Strategic Partnership Model and the U.S.-Turkey Counterterrorism Cooperation that Never Was


Failure of the Strategic Partnership Model and the U.S.-Turkey Counterterrorism Cooperation that Never Was

Friday, April 19, 2019
1:00pm - 2:00pm

On Friday, April 19 at 1:00 pm, Max Erdemandi will give a lecture titled "Failure of the Strategic Partnership Model and the U.S.-Turkey Counterterrorism Cooperation that Never Was" at START headquarters. The event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are appreciated. If you are not a START affiliate, please email Eva Coll (escoll@umd.edu) if you're interested in attending for more information.

The U.S. can no longer count on Turkey’s cooperation to achieve effective, long-lasting counterterrorism solutions; pretending otherwise would be naive. This idea is not at all groundbreaking, as Turkey's slow and steady departure from the U.S. sphere of influence has become the proverbial dead horse since the invasion of Iraq. Yet, countless attempts to understand why the U.S.-Turkey strategic partnership is failing and how it can (if at all) be saved overlook two important factors. First, the current security environment that is typified by irregular, asymmetric conflicts raises questions regarding the applicability of international cooperation models such as strategic partnership, which proved useful in dyadic conflicts where the parties, objectives, and capabilities are (more or less) predictable, in this new ecosystem. Second, The U.S.-Turkey strategic and operational misalignment often stems from conceptual confusion. In other words, their responses to the same issues differ because their understanding of these issues differ significantly.

This lecture will focus on these issues to analyze the origins of the strategic partnership model of cooperation between the U.S. and Turkey, how it created false expectations—especially regarding counterterrorism efforts—and potential pathways for the future of U.S.-turkey relations in three sections, "What is Terrorism and Who is a Terrorist," "The Strategic Partnership Fallacy," and "The Myth of U.S. Dependence on Turkey."

Max Erdemandi is a Faculty Specialist at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland. As a member of the Political Instability and Counterterrorism portfolio, he works on government-funded research and education initiatives on counterterrorism policy and efficacy, P/CVE programming, partner capacity building, near-peer competition and cooperation, and strategic influence. In addition to his research work, Mr. Erdemandi works with START's Education and Training team to coordinate the joint "U.S. Perspectives on Contemporary Security Issues & U.S.-Australia Cooperation" workshop with Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia). Mr. Erdemandi has native fluency in Turkish and has given talks and published on Turkish elections, national security and grand strategy, and U.S.-Turkey cooperation on counterterrorism and regional security. His research interests also include cultural trauma, data-driven modeling and simulation projects, and the intersection of security studies and public diplomacy and sociology of radicalization.