NATO, Turkey and the Southern Flank: A Mideastern Perspective

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The growth in recent years of Soviet political involvement and military presence in the Mediterranean/Middle East region poses a serious challenge to the security of NATO's southern flank. Among other aims, the Soviets hope to reduce Western, especially American, influence in the area; counter and/or neutralize the U.S. strategic posture; and bring to fruition the historic Russian drive for open access through the Turkish Straits. General Gurkan argues that Moscow's strategy is to shift pressure from the relatively stable central region of NATO to the flanks in a multiple pronged southern thrust.