Through a system-level analysis, this study argues that the recent divergences between Ankara and Washington deserve a macro-level approach as they are actually a direct outcome of U.S. confusion over its future direction. Looking for a new grand strategy that will determine the U.S. position in world politics, Washington keeps sending Turkey mixed signals and the two allies are often lost in translation while trying to gain each other’s support to fulfil their national priorities. Different than various other studies on Turkish-American relations, this article makes a unique
contribution to the field by focusing mainly on systemic variables while analyzing U.S. relations with Ankara, which have followed a fluctuating course during the Obama and Trump administrations. It argues that the deteriorating relations are actually a result of the American retrenchment in the Middle East and its pivoting to Asia due to the world’s shifting center of gravity from the West to the East with the rise of China.