A recent NATO conference in Izmir Turkey on Southern and Eastern security threats to the alliance highlights Turkey’s importance to NATO.  Turkey plays a key role in deterring Russian aggression due to its geographic positioning along the entrance to the black sea.  It allows access to the Russian annexed Crimea as well as to southern Ukraine.  These are Russian vulnerabilities which NATO has highlighted through a number of naval exercises in the black sea within the first half of 2015.  Turkey’s partnership with NATO will be key to facilitating through naval, land, and air exercises NATO’s displeasure over Russian aggression. Edward