Since Turkey’s accession to NATO in 1952, United States–Turkey relations have been underpinned by their defense ties. Turkey’s critical position on NATO’s southeastern flank, with the second-largest army in the Alliance, and as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East and the Caucasus, contributes significantly to the Alliance’s security. Likewise, Turkey has accrued immense benefits from its inclusion in the Alliance, which helped usher in an era of prosperity and stability relative to its neighbors.

The United States–Turkey relationship has changed much since the end of the Cold War as defense and security prerogatives have shifted. However, what has not changed is the importance of the NATO alliance. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has upended the strategic landscape and led to a recalculation of regional security assumptions and has reinforced NATO’s importance.

Turkey’s growing foreign policy assertiveness has commonly been viewed as a challenge to its Western allies. But one could argue that Turkey’s independence should be viewed as an asset for the United States and NATO. Despite confrontational political rhetoric from both sides, Turkey’s actions counter Russian interests across the region, from Syria to Libya to the Caucasus.

Our new publication, The Defense Journal by Atlantic Council IN TURKEY, provides independent expert analyses regarding the full spectrum of regional defense issues involving the United States, Turkey and regional countries—from diplomatic and geopolitical dimensions and relations among military counterparts to defense industry technologies and industrial and operational capacities as well as broader strategic considerations.

Through this publication, we aim to enhance dialogue in the region and support the transatlantic alliance, while creating a platform for the defense industry to discuss current regional developments.

I am also proud to say that the journal was developed by managing editors Rich Outzen, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and former military and civilian advisor in the US State Department’s Office of the Special Representative for Syria, and Can Kasapoglu, director of the Security and Defense Studies Program at the Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM). With this opportunity, I would like to thank both for their great efforts.

Defne Arslan is Senior Director of the Atlantic Council’s Atlantic Council IN TURKEY & Turkey programs. She was formerly a Chief Turkey economist and senior energy expert on regional policies at the US State Department working through US Embassy Ankara. Follow her on Twitter @defnesadiklar.