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CrisisWatch Database

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Turkey

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Govt-PKK peace process inched forward: new bill approved by parliament 10 July and President Gül 15 July gives state negotiators immunity, allows use of third-parties in talks, mentions work underway for militants’ rehabilitation. Jailed PKK leader Öcalan 10 July said legal framework “positive start to establishing a great peace”. Hundreds of PKK fighters reported crossing into Syria mid-July to join armed wing Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in battle against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) jihadists around Kobane. 3 Turkish soldiers, 2 YPG killed near Ceylanpinar on Syria border 21 July; Turkish army said militants tried to enter illegally, PKK said they were ambushed. Turkish soldiers 19 July shot dead Syrian Kurdish man crossing intoŞırnak province from Syria. Tensions in southeast from Syrian spillover worsened with anti-refugee protests and attacks on Syrian businesses in Kahramanmaraş and Adana provinces 13-14 July. PM Erdoğan 17 July accused Israel of attempting “systematic genocide” in Gaza, called for ICC trial; FM Davutoğlu 18 July met with Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Abbas, 25 July with Hamas leader Meshaal, 26 July attended Paris multilateral talks. Israel 18 July reduced diplomatic delegation in Turkey amid growing protests. Govt media ban on June kidnapping of 49 Turkish diplomatic staff and family in Mosul by IS continued. Dozens of police officers and chiefs detained late July over alleged spying on PM Erdoğan and entourage, arrests seen as political move ahead of 10 Aug presidential elections.

Turkey

  |  1 Jul 2014

Unchanged

Govt-PKK peace process inched forward: govt 26 June submitted new bill to parliament proposing legal immunity for key negotiating actors and govt-led rehabilitation program for militants; Deputy PM Beşir Atalay said solution near; jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan said bill “historic development”. Pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) 15 June visited PKK leadership in northern Iraq; Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) same day urged movement to avoid roadblocks, attacks, kidnappings. 2 killed in violent protests in Lice 7 June, 23 teachers abducted by PKK 9 June, later released. 1 killed 1 June in clash between pro-Kurdish group and Turkish ultra nationalists in Istanbul; PKK supporters 4-7 June attacked city buses with Molotov coktails, no casualties reported. Syrian Kurdish boy shot 3 June by Turkish soldiers. Sunni militant group ISIL 11 June kidnapped 49 consulate staff in Mosul, Iraq; govt banned media reporting on crisis. Govt 30 June opposed independent Kurdish state, called for Iraq unity. 26 activists charged 12 June for May-June 2013 Taksim Square protests. Ahead of August presidential elections, opposition national MHP and secularist CHP 16 June announced joint candidate, conservative diplomat Ekmeleddin Ihsanoğlu; HDP 26 June announced Selahattin Demirtas; ruling AKP 1 July announced PM Erdoğan’s candidacy.

Turkey

  |  1 Jun 2014

Unchanged

Over 300 killed, hundreds wounded, in coal mine explosion in town of Soma, Aegean Manisa province 13 May; police used water cannon, tear gas in subsequent protests in several major cities, including Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. Police fired live bullets during clashes in Istanbul 22-23 May, 1 civilian shot, 1 died in grenade blast, at least 9 injured including 7 police. Woman, in coma since inhaling tear gas during Dec protests, died 30 May. No visible progress toward govt-PKK settlement, ceasefire continued to hold despite several breaches. Soldiers 19 May reportedly shot dead Syrian Kurdish woman crossing border in Şırnak province. FM Davutoğlu 8 May said compensation talks with Israel over 2010 Mavi Marmara incident progressing; passenger injured in incident died 23 May after 4 years in coma, court 26 May issued arrest warrants for 4 former Israeli military chiefs. European Court of Human Rights 12 May issued ruling against Turkey on 1974 Cyprus invasion (see Cyprus).

Turkey

  |  1 May 2014

Unchanged

No tangible progress towards govt-PKK settlement; jailed PKK leader Öcalan met pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) delegation 26 April, warned against new clashes, urged govt to enact new laws including for militants’ return. BDP-organised protests against military outpost constructions in SE turned violent: 3 protesters wounded in Tunceli province 27 April; PKK same day kidnapped 2 soldiers in Diyarbakır. Parliament 17 April approved controversial law increasing powers and immunity of National Intelligence Agency (MIT); criticised by opposition for turning Turkey into “intelligence state”, law also potentially provides legal grounds for ongoing Öcalan-MIT negotiations. EU Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle 10 April expressed concern about independence of judiciary and freedom of expression. Turkey 23 April sent army relief and resupply convoy to Turkish exclave Süleyman Şah tomb 30km inside Syria, area controlled by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Turkey

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Ruling AKP won more than 44% of vote in 30 March local elections. 8 killed in clashes between supporters of rival candidates on polling day in Sanliurfa and Hatay province; mayoral candidate for Islamist Felicity Party shot dead in Siirt province 31 March. 15-year-old in coma since June 2013 clashes between protesters and police, described by PM Erdoğan as “terrorist”, died 11 March prompting more protest; 1 shot dead 12 March in Istanbul in clash between rival political groups, 1 policeman died of heart attack due to tear gas in Tunceli same day. Continued social media leaks of corruption allegations and phone conversations involving Erdoğan govt led to ban on Twitter 20 March, blocking of YouTube. No new progress in govt-PKK peace process; first combat death since March 2013 ceasefire as Turkish soldier killed in 6 March explosion in Uludere, Şırnak province. Amid fighting between Syrian regime and rebels in border area, Turkey 23 March shot down Syrian warplane outside Hatay province, saying it crossed into Turkish airspace. 3 alleged members of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from Syria started firefight in central Niğde province 20 March; 2 soldiers, 1 police, 1 civilian killed. 2 suspected ISIL members and 3 police injured in raid in Istanbul 25 March.

Turkey

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

Month saw several demonstrations in Istanbul and other provinces against new laws criticised for increasing authoritarian turn of PM Erdoğan’s govt; police used tear gas, water cannon. Controversial laws included bills on internet regulation and Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, both approved by President Gül, and a proposal to broaden powers of National Intelligence Organisation. EU officials sent messages critical of legal changes. 24 Feb tapes of phone conversations allegedly between Erdoğan and son about hiding large sums of cash leaked; PM claimed recordings fake, more recordings emerged in following days. Court 28 Feb released last 5 suspects detained in Dec corruption probe targeting PM’s inner circle, including 2 sons of ministers. Month saw deterioration in peace process between govt and Kurdish insurgency PKK. Ceasefire violations continued, particularly in SE Şırnak province; PKK militants 17 Feb fired on road construction machines near border, Turkish military responded, skirmish continued for several days. At Geneva II conference on Syria conflict (see Syria) Syrian FM Muallem accused Erdoğan of backing “terrorists”. Turkish officials continued to intensify high-level contacts with EU; PM Erdoğan 3 Feb visited Germany, FM Davutoğlu 10-11 Feb visited Brussels.

Turkey

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

Tensions over 17 Dec corruption raid targeting PM Erdoğan’s inner circle deepened. Govt reacted by reshuffling thousands of prosecutors and policemen allegedly behind corruption investigation. Govt 7 Jan sent draft legislation to parliament aiming to enhance executive authority over judges, prosecutors, prompting criticism from U.S., EU. Anti-govt protests formed in major cities: thousands 11 Jan protested in Ankara. Investigation widely seen as instigated by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, reflecting internal battle between formerly allied governing AKP and Gülen’s Islamic movement fighting over control of state institutions; Erdoğan called investigation foreign-backed “coup attempt” by “parallel state”. Peace process between govt and Kurdish insurgency PKK remains fragile, with occasional flare-ups of violence continuing in SE, but ceasefire officially continues. Military court 6 Jan dropped investigation into deaths of 34 Kurdish civilians in military air strike in 2011. Protests erupted 15 Jan over building of new military outpost in Sirnak in SE, several protesters injured. All 5 pro-Kurdish BDP deputies on trial for alleged involvement with Kurdish Communities Union released 3-4 Jan. FM Davutoğlu 19 Jan denied allegations that Turkey supported al-Qaeda in Syria; army 28 Jan opened fire on al-Qaeda-linked militants in N Syria destroying several vehicles, reportedly in retaliation for cross-border fire from Syria; police 14 Jan detained 28 suspects in raid against al-Qaeda. Amid EU concerns over judicial independence in Turkey, Erdoğan 21 Jan visited Brussels for first time in 5 years, renewed commitment to Turkey’s EU path.

Turkey

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

In perceived proxy battle within AKP, more than 50 people detained 17 Dec for alleged involvement in corruption ring, including sons of 3 cabinet ministers, 1 municipal leader, prominent businessmen, more than 24 formally arrested; 4 ministers implicated replaced in 25 Dec 10-minister cabinet reshuffle. Separate probe delayed after govt reassigned hundreds of police, prosecutor says unable to order detentions for questioning. Peace process between govt and Kurdish insurgency PKK remains fragile, with occasional flare-ups of violence in SE: protests 6 Dec against alleged vandalism of PKK militants’ graves in Yüksekova, Hakkari; 2 protesters killed in clashes during police crackdown, 3rd died later. Further clashes at funeral for killed protesters 7 Dec in Şırnak and Yüksekova, several wounded, including police. PKK 8 Dec kidnapped 4 soldiers in retaliation, released 9 Dec. PKK leader Cemil Bayık 2 Dec said peace process heading off course due to governing AKP delaying tactics, signalled PKK would take up arms again if process not accelerated by spring 2014. Continued tensions along Syrian border: 1 Syrian child killed 3 Dec by Turkish soldiers firing warning shots to stop group illegally crossing back to Syria. Committee to Protect Journalists 18 Dec announced Turkey “world’s leading jailer of journalists”, some 40 journalists imprisoned, mainly Kurdish. Turkey and EU 16 Dec signed readmission agreement obliging Turkey to take back illegal immigrants who enter EU via Turkey, in exchange for start of visa exemption talks. 

Turkey

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Flagging peace process between govt and Kurdish PKK insurgency reinvigorated as PM Erdoğan and Iraqi Kurdistan leader Masoud Barzani 16 Nov gave joint public address in Diyarbakır; Erdoğan used word “Kurdistan”, visited Diyarbakır municipality run by pro-Kurdish BDP. On first visit to Turkey since 1992, Barzani spoke of Turkish-Kurdish “brotherhood”, urged Turkish Kurds to support PKK peace process. Sporadic army-PKK clashes continue: PKK 15 Nov attacked army convoy in Nusaybin; 19 Nov set construction vehicles on fire on Şırnak-Van highway. Continued reports of smuggling along Syrian border: Turkish border control 2 Nov intercepted convoy carrying 1,000kg of chemicals; 7 Nov seized cargo truck loaded with 1,200 weapons. Govt figures show over 600,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey, over 200,000 of these in camps, rest in cities. Thousands 7 Nov participated in BDP-organised protests against construction of wall along Syrian border in Nusaybin. FM Davutoğlu denied Western accusations that Turkey allows jihadi fighters to transit through its territory to Syria. Interior ministry 27 Nov reported around 500 Turkish citizens fighting in Syria alongside al-Qaeda linked rebels. In attempt to mend ties with Shiite regional powers, Davutoğlu 1 Nov hosted Iranian FM Zarif; during 11 Nov trip to Iraq, visited Shiite shrine, met Shiite spiritual leader al-Sistani. Egypt 23 Nov announced expulsion of Turkish ambassador, citing govt’s “provocative” criticism of Cairo. Thousands of Turkish Alevis 3 Nov staged anti-govt demonstration in Istanbul demanding “equal citizenship”. Ending 3-year hiatus in accession negotiations, EU, Turkey 5 Nov opened chapter 22 on regional policy.

Turkey

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Peace process between govt and Kurdish PKK insurgency looking increasingly fragile, though PKK did not end ceasefire after 15 Oct as threatened. PKK 1 Oct said not satisfied with govt’s 30 Sept “democratisation package”; leader Cemil Bayık 19 Oct said “process has come to an end”, requires “deep and meaningful negotiations” with Kurdish movement “or there will be a civil war in Turkey”, demanded direct access for Öcalan to outside world. Parliament 3 Oct voted to extend mandate authorising deployment of troops to Syria citing threat of chemical weapons. Incidents continue on border with Syria: 1 Turkish civilian killed in Ceylanpınar 28 Oct by stray shell from fighting in Ras al-Ayn between Kurdish and Islamist fighters, Turkish army returned fire. Protests against Turkey’s 7 Oct decision to build wall along Syrian border turned violent 20 Oct as police dispersed protesters in Mardin province. Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Directorate said 22 Oct over 600,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey. After EU 16 Oct published relatively positive Progress Report on Turkey’s accession process, new negotiating chapter on regional policy to be opened 5 Nov, first in 3 years.

Turkey

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Peace talks between govt and Kurdish PKK insurgency continue but hang in balance as both sides have blamed each other for stalling. High-level PKK leader Cemil Bayık 5 Sept announced halting militants’ withdrawals to outside Turkey; jailed PKK head Öcalan 15 Sept voiced need for “new format” in peace talks. Ceasefire remains in place but tensions continue: PKK 11 Sept attacked construction site, abducted 4 in Siirt; 15 Sept set construction vehicles on fire in Elazığ. PM Erdoğan 30 Sept announced “democratisation package” including plans for education in mother languages in private schools, possible lowering of electoral threshold, removing headscarf ban in public sector. Announcement sparked protests of tens of thousands of Kurds in SE; co-chair of pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Gültan Kışanak 30 Sept said package failed to meet expectations. Amid continued tensions along Syrian border, govt expressed dissatisfaction with U.S.-Russia agreement in addressing Syrian crisis. 2 Turkish jets 16 Sept shot down Syrian helicopter after it strayed into Turkish airspace. Frequent clashes continue between military and Syrian smugglers: live ammunition smuggled into Turkey exploded 3 Sept, killed 5 Syrians, 1 Turk. 1 Turkish civilian killed 29 Sept in clashes between Turkish army and Syrian smugglers in Hatay. 1 protester died in anti-govt demonstrations in Hatay 10 Sept, sparking more protests in Istanbul, Ankara and Hatay.

Turkey

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

Govt peace process with Kurdish insurgency PKK looks precarious as both sides engage in aggressive rhetoric. PM Erdoğan 16 Aug reiterated no plans to reduce 10% party election threshold to enter parliament or introduce education in mother languages, also said PKK did not fulfil promises and withdrew only 20% of militants to outside Turkey. PKK leader Cemil Bayık 14 and 27 Aug said govt had until 1 Sept to announce plans to take steps, or PKK could stop withdrawals, walk away from talks. Deputy PM Bülent Arınç 26 Aug said PM to announce a “democratisation package” in 2 weeks. Spillover from clashes in Ras al-Ain on Syria’s Turkish border killed 1 Turk 3 Aug, bringing number of Turks killed in Syria-related violence near border to 74 based on unofficial Crisis Group count. Changing its rejection to engage Syria’s PKK-linked Kurds’ Democratic Union Party (PYD), Turkish govt invited PYD leader Saleh Muslim 25 July and 14 Aug to meet national intelligence and foreign ministry officials. Exchange of fire between gendarmerie and 2,500-3,000 alleged oil smugglers at Syrian border wounded 18 soldiers 6 Aug near Hatay. Relations with Israel deteriorated after PM Erdoğan 20 Aug alleged Israel behind July military coup in Egypt. Turkey and Egypt recalled respective ambassadors, cancelled joint naval drill.

Turkey

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

Govt peace process with Kurdish insurgency PKK under threat as PKK and security forces resumed exchange of fire in SE (no fatalities to date). Turkish soldiers 4 July fired on crowd protesting construction of gendarmerie outpost, killing one; clashes between demonstrators and security forces in other SE provinces continued in following days. PM Erdoğan 26 June indicated no plans to start education in mother languages or lower 10% election threshold to enter parliament, 2 major Kurdish grievances. Interior minister 10 July said that withdrawal of militants to outside Turkish borders not complete; leader of PKK’s armed forces Murat Karayılan said govt’s turn to take steps. Senior PKK member Sabri Ok 25 Jul gave govt until 15 Oct to enact reforms, PKK leader Cemil Bayik 31 Jul said govt had until 1 Sept; no major moves expected until early Oct. Clashes on Syria border continued to spill into Turkey; 3 killed in Ceylanpınar from 17 July fighting across border in Ras al-Ayn between People’s Defense Forces (YPG), military wing of Syria’s Kurds’ Democratic Union Party (PYD), and Jabhat al-Nusra front; Turkey returned fire, sent F-16s and drones to border. Amid reports of PYD’s imminent declaration of autonomy in northern Syria, Turkish nationalist opposition parties calling for military intervention. Anti-govt protests that began late May mostly calmed, despite underlying frustrations remaining unaddressed. Number of protest-related casualties rose to 5 as 19-year-old demonstrator, beaten by unknown assailants 2 June, died 10 July. Conditional opening of first EU accession chapter in 3 years followed by anti-EU statements by Erdoğan’s new chief adviser Yiğıt Bulut. Govt condemned ousting of Egypt’s president Morsi; Erdoğan reportedly refused phone call with acting VP ElBaradei.

Turkey

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

Environmental demonstration that began 27 May against govt’s plans to develop Istanbul’s Gezi Park escalated into large-scale anti-govt protests 31 May, spread to over 60 provinces. Police crackdown and clashes left 4 people dead, over 7,000 injured, dozens detained. PM Erdoğan met protesters 12-14 June, announced Gezi Park construction project on hold awaiting court decision, but scattered demonstrations and police interventions continue. Clashes between security forces and locals at Lice district in SE Diyarbakır province left 1 dead, 10 injured 28 June. Erdoğan organised pro-AKP rallies throughout Turkey starting 15 June in Istanbul. Withdrawal of armed PKK militants to outside Turkish borders continued. Process remains fragile; first PKK-army clash since mid-March left 1 Turkish soldier wounded 3 June in Șırnak province. PKK military leader Karayılan 19 June accused govt of sabotaging process by increasing military presence in Kurdish regions including N Iraq. As of 17 June, some 200,000 Syrians taking shelter in Turkish refugee camps, estimated 250,000 in cities. Turkey-EU relations deteriorated over harsh govt crackdown on peaceful protests; EU 25 June agreed to open Chapter 22 on regional policy, first chapter after 3-year hiatus, but postponed inter-governmental conference until after Oct, following Germany’s request.

Turkey

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

Turkey Syrian crisis continues to spill over: 2 May clashes between Syrians trying to enter Turkey and Turkish security forces at Akçakale crossing in Șanlıurfa province left police officer dead, 11 wounded including 4 civilians. 2 car bombs in Reyhanlı town in border Hatay province 11 May killed 52; Ankara said attack linked to Syrian regime using local Turkish leftist group, investigation continues. After 16 May meeting between PM Erdoğan and President Obama, Turkey shifted position to support Syria political negotiations in Geneva II conference. PM Erdoğan 16 May said Turkey has spent $1.5 billion on Syria. Showing Turkey-PKK peace process is gaining momentum, armed PKK militants started withdrawal from Turkey to northern Iraq 8 May; PKK military leader Murat Karayılan said withdrawal of 2,100 militants will be completed by Nov. No fresh violence between PKK-army thanks to current process, but 2 soldiers died 2 May after stepping on an old mine in Iğdır province. Violent clashes between police and thousands of protestors against govt construction in central Istanbul late month left several injured.

Turkey

  |  1 May 2013

Unchanged

Parliament 9 April approved ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s proposal to establish commission to monitor peace process between govt and Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK); opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) refused to vote. 3 pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies visited PKK’s jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan 3 and 14 April, said Öcalan believed process entered “promising stage”.  PKK military leader in northern Iraq Karayılan 25 April announced PKK will start withdrawal from Turkey 8 May; no casualties recorded in April. Govt 3 April announced list of “wise people” tasked with explaining peace efforts to public. MHP 20 April staged first big demonstration against govt’s PKK deal in western province Izmir. Much-anticipated 4th judicial reform package approved 11 April, changing definition of terrorism to exclude printing statements and attending unauthorised demonstrations, but thousands of non-violent defendants in Kurdistan Communities Union case fall outside package’s scope. Amid gradual thaw in relations with Tel Aviv, Israeli delegation visited to discuss compensation for relatives of 9 Turks killed on Mavi Marmara in 2010. European Parliament 18 April approved resolution on Turkey’s 2012 EU progress report calling on the Council to open negotiations on chapter 22 (regional policy), lift blocks on chapters 23 (judiciary and fundamental rights), 24 (justice, freedom and security). Govt disaster agency reported number of Syrian refugees in Turkish camps surpassed 191,000, officials estimate around 250,000 more in Turkish cities.

Turkey

  |  1 Apr 2013

Improved

Jailed leader of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Öcalan’s 21 March call to militants for eventual ceasefire and withdrawal to outside Turkish borders boosted peace prospects between govt and Kurdish insurgency. PM Erdoğan  said Öcalan’s call “positive” but will wait for implementation. PKK 13 March released 8 kidnapped public officials. PKK military leader in northern Iraq Karayılan declared ceasefire starting 23 March, suggested withdrawal could be completed by fall 2013. Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) claimed responsibility for 2 simultaneous attacks on govt buildings in Ankara 19 March. Israel PM Netanyahu 22 March issued formal apology to Turkey and agreed to pay compensation for killing 9 Turks aboard Mavi Marmara vessel in 2010, PM Erdoğan accepted apology but said ties will not normalize until Israel implements conditions.

Turkey

  |  1 Mar 2013

Unchanged

Car bomb near Cilvegözü Turkish border crossing to Syria 11 Feb killed 14 civilians including 4 Turks: Syrian National Council (SNC) 12 Feb claimed target was SNC delegation. Govt-PKK peace talks continued: second delegation from pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) 24 Feb visited jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan following govt approval, issued statement suggesting future release of PKK-held captives. Civilian died under riot control vehicle 11 Feb in pro-Öcalan demonstrations in Diyarbakır province. 26 Feb Turkish army airstrike near PKK HQ in N Iraq killed 4 militants. Parliament 25 Feb began discussing AKP govt’s “fourth judicial reform package”, to remedy structural problems with judicial system, could lead to release of some Kurdish politicians and activists detained in Kurdistan Communities’ Union case. Suicide bombing by member of Revolutionary People’s Liberation Part-Front (DHKP-C) at U.S. embassy in Ankara 1 Feb killed 1 guard; police 18 Feb detained 167 people connected to group. France 12 Feb announced readiness to lift its veto on one of 5 EU negotiation chapters it has blocked since 2007. German Chancellor Merkel 23 Feb announced support for opening new chapter, called on Turkey to show progress in opening ports to Greek Cypriot vessels.

Turkey

  |  1 Feb 2013

Resolution Opportunity Unchanged

Optimism over prospect of govt-PKK peace negotiations followed PM Erdoğan’s 19 Dec revelation that National Intelligence Organisation has been holding new round of talks with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. Govt permitted pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and pro-Kurdish civil society organisation DTK to visit Öcalan 3 Jan; during meeting he reportedly said “era of armed struggle is over”. PM adviser on Kurdish affairs 4 Jan said goal with Kurds was “final settlement”, 11 Jan said military operations against PKK would continue until it disarmed. Govt 25 Jan passed law allowing defendants to speak Kurdish in court at will. Diyarbakır court 31 Jan acquitted 98 Kurdish mayors on one count of terrorism-related charges in trial with 106 suspects, suspended sentence for 3 years on another count. Crisis Group informally counted at least 22 people, mostly PKK, killed in clashes between govt and militants during month. Little progress on new constitution; AKP official 2 Jan said deadline may be extended from March to June 2013. 3 PKK women assassinated in Paris 10 Jan, including co-founder Sakine Cansız; thousands peacefully attended funerals in Diyarbakır province 17 Jan. French police arrested another PKK member as suspect in killings 21 Jan. Turkish police continued detentions of non-violent Kurdish activists in 1, 9, 11 Jan operations. Following Ankara’s Dec request to NATO to boost defence capabilities against Syria, 6 Patriot anti-missile batteries from U.S., Germany, Netherlands became operational 25 Jan amid protests, some violent. Over 150,000 Syrian refugees now in 13 Turkish camps; estimated 60,000-150,000 outside camps.

Turkey

  |  30 Dec 2012

Unchanged

NATO 3 Dec approved Turkey’s request for defensive Patriot missiles along its border with Syria; deployment expected early 2013. PKK-army fighting killed 4 militants 1 Dec in Elazig province; Turkish authorities said 26 PKK killed, 11 captured in one-month military operation in Osmaniye province in Dec. Stray Syrian shells continue to fall on Turkish border towns, no casualties in Dec; Turkish military more restrained in retaliating to incidents. 11 Dec EU General Affairs council’s enlargement report mentioned “accession” with reference to Turkey first time in 5 years, stressed need for new constitution.

Turkey

  |  1 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Turkey continued to retaliate against stray Syrian shells with cross-border shelling. Stray shells wounded several in Turkey’s Ceylanpınar district during Syrian air assault on border town Ras al-Ain which began 8 Nov. Turkey sent fighter jets to border; thousands of Syrians fled into Turkey. Turkey 21 Nov formally requested NATO to deploy Patriot missiles along its border with Syria for defence purposes; 15 Nov announced recognition of new National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as legitimate representative of Syrian people. PM Erdoğan condemned Israel’s 14-21 Nov strikes against Gaza (see Israel/OPT); visited Cairo 17 Nov for dialogue, talks on Israel-Hamas war. FM Davutoğlu visited Gaza 20 Nov. Turkey 26 Nov confirmed it had engaged in talks with Israel through diplomatic channels to revive bilateral ties prior to Israel-Hamas war. Hundreds of pro-PKK prisoners 17 Nov ended 2-month hunger strike following message from jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. Govt met some of strikers’ demands: 5 Nov said Öcalan could restart meetings with lawyers, and parliament 13 Nov started debating amendment to legalise use of Kurdish in courts. Justice Minister 19 Nov said talks with PKK, cut off mid-2011, could restart. Clashes between army and PKK in south east claimed at least 43 lives during month, down from 52 in October, according to Crisis Group’s informal count. Continued Turkish airstrikes and raids in N Iraq targeted alleged PKK camps.

Turkey

  |  1 Nov 2012

Unchanged

PKK attacks on civilian targets in south east intensified; arson strikes on more than 20 schools, several incidents of kidnappings of teachers and students. Oct death toll from violence between PKK and army at least 52 according to Crisis Group’s informal minimum count, down from Sept. Protesters in support of hunger-striking Kurdish prisoners clashed with police in Diyarbakır, Istanbul 30 Oct. Turkish-Syrian relations further deteriorated as Syrian shelling across border escalated to highest level yet. Mortar shell fired by Syrian govt forces killed 5 civilians in border town Akcakale 3 Oct; Turkey responded with at least 12 hours of artillery fire. Exchange of fire continued sporadically throughout Oct as additional shells landed in Turkey. Parliament 4 Oct authorised cross-border raids; PM Erdoğan insisted move was deterrent not mandate for war, but harsh war rhetoric coming from other senior govt figures. Tensions increased as Turkey 10 Oct forced Syrian passenger plane en route from Moscow to Damascus to land in Ankara, on suspicion it was transporting weapons equipment for Syrian govt, claimed it found illegal military equipment. Syria 13 Oct closed airspace to Turkish planes, reciprocated by Ankara 14 Oct. Refugee situation worsened as govt mid-month reported over 100,000 Syrians in 13 camps along border; around 14,000 reportedly waiting on Syrian side of border. Military 27 Oct denied presence of U.S. troops after top U.S. commanders said military personnel sent to help deal with spillover of Syrian crisis, fight against PKK. EC Progress Report 10 Oct criticised Turkey’s relations with Republic of Cyprus, Kurdish issue, press freedom, lack of consultation in legislative process.

Turkey

  |  1 Oct 2012

Unchanged

Security situation further deteriorated in southeast as PKK attacks continued to escalate, causing heavy military casualties. Major death tolls from clashes on 2 Sept in Şirnak, with 10 soldiers and 20 PKK dead; 9 Sept in Şemdinli, with at least 2 soldiers, 7 PKK dead; 11 Sept in Şemdinli, 8-10 PKK dead; 4 soldiers killed in Hakkari by roadside bomb 15 Sept; 8 police killed by mine in Bingöl 16 Sept; 2 PKK rockets fired at buses carrying off-duty soldiers near Bingöl 18 Sept killed 10; 26 Sept military operation in Çukurca left 2 soldiers, 13 PKK dead. Total death toll informally counted by Crisis Group in Turkey’s PKK conflict in Sept was 96, including 53 from security forces, 39 from PKK, 4 civilians; sharp increase from Aug total of 74. 771 people have died in conflict since June 2011. PM Erdoğan 26 Sept signalled restarting talks with PKK possible. Turkey joined Egypt-Iran-Saudi-Turkey contact group in Cairo 17 Sept to discuss regionally coordinated approach to Syrian crisis (see Syria). As number of Syrian refugees in Turkey reached over 80,000, Turkey’s call for buffer zone did not get response from UN, U.S. EU. U.S. increasingly critical of Turkey’s refusal to allow multilateral agencies greater role in refugee camps. Schools in border areas closed late month due to shelling on Syrian side of border. Drafts of EU’s Oct annual progress report critical of lack of progress on political criteria, respect for fundamental rights.

Turkey

  |  1 Sep 2012

Deteriorated

Month saw increased violence between govt, PKK: in Hakkari Province 6 soldiers, 2 guards, 11 rebels killed 5 Aug at border post near Gecimili; attack on military convoy, ensuing clashes 23 Aug killed 6 soldiers, 26 militants; Hakkari governor 11 Aug announced end of 3-week operation against militants involving 2,000 soldiers in region, reported “large number” of rebels killed. 9 killed, 69 wounded 20 Aug in car bombing in Gaziantep; govt 22 Aug blamed PKK, suggested possible international involvement in attack; PKK denied responsibility. PKK 12 Aug abducted for 2 days Kurdish opposition MP in Tunceli, 13 Aug kidnapped 11 construction workers in Hakkari Province. Parliamentary Speaker Çiçek 27 Aug called for unity, democracy to address terrorism; AKP leaders 29 Aug rejected statement. Pro-Kurdish BDP co-Chair Demirtaş late-month said PKK had established control over territory in SE, PM Erdoğan 31 Aug rebuffed claims. Govt 24 Aug said defecting Syrian soldiers, refugees in country, reached 78,000. U.S. Sec of State Clinton visited 11 Aug, announced creation of “formal structure” between 2 countries to tackle worst-case scenarios in Syria; Turkey, U.S. officials 23 Aug held “operational planning meeting” on Syria, reportedly discussed cooperation against al-Qaeda, creation of buffer zone. Foreign Ministry 7 Aug condemned comments by Iranian army chief warning Turkey against cooperation with U.S. over Syria; Deputy PM Arınç 9 Aug accused Iran of backing PKK; Iranian parliament's foreign policy commission spokesman Nakavi 21 Aug said Turkey risked becoming target of more attacks similar to 21 Aug bombing by intervening in Syria; Iranian Foreign Ministry 22 Aug condemned bombing, expressed condolences. 2 Turkish nationals kidnapped 15, 18 Aug in Lebanon. Supreme Military Council (YAS) 4 Aug announced forcible retirement of 40 generals, admirals suspected of plotting coup.

Turkey

  |  1 Aug 2012

Unchanged

Pro-Kurdish BDP-led demonstrations in Diyarbakır 14 July demanding end to PKK leader Öcalan’s solitary confinement deteriorated into clashes with police; 87 detained, several wounded including BDP deputy. Clashes between PKK and govt forces left at least 36 dead: 15 police officers wounded 14 July in ambush on convoy near Van; 15 PKK militants killed 25 July by security forces in S-E; 2 soldiers killed 29 July in clash with PKK in Hakkari province. PM Erdoğan 14 July ruled out negotiations with PKK prior to disarming. Iraqi PM al-Maliki 17 July warned Turkey against further violations of airspace following Turkish cross-border sorties against PKK in N Iraq. Syrian Kurds including group affiliated with PKK 22 July took control of several villages on border with Turkey; PM Erdoğan 25 July said Turkey has natural right to intervene in case of “terrorist formations”. 8 Turkish police officers, 14 Syrian refugees injured in 17, 21 July riots at Kilis and Islahiye refugee camps over food, water shortages. Wreckage of fighter jet shot down by Syrian forces found 4 July along with bodies of 2 pilots.

Turkey

  |  1 Jul 2012

Unchanged

Turkish govt 22 June said fighter jet shot down by Syria in international airspace, 2 pilots missing; following 26 June article IV NATO consultations PM Erdoğan instructed Turkish army to treat Syrian military units approaching border as threat. 8 Turkish soldiers killed 19 June in PKK assault on govt post in Hakkari province, 31 PKK insurgents killed in retaliatory clashes, including 22-24 June airstrikes on PKK bases in N Iraq. 3 soldiers killed 24-26 June in clashes in Mardin, Hakkari provinces. 2 teachers released 25 June following 21 June PKK raid on convoy in Bitlis, 1 soldier still held. Over 140 detained during Turkish police operations against Kurdish Communities Union, including politicians, local pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) officials. BDP 19 June urged both PKK and state to cease hostilities. Kurdish Deputy Aysel Tuğluk 12 June found guilty of engaging in crimes, propaganda on behalf of PKK.

Turkey

  |  1 Jun 2012

Unchanged

Clashes between security forces and PKK continued across SE killing 25 PKK militants, 9 govt forces. PKK began new wave of kidnappings, assassinations: AKP district official taken 15 May in Diyarbakır; AKP city deputy head killed 17 May in Șırnak; village official, 5 guards kidnapped 18 May in Bitlis; Imam 20 May killed in Ağrı; 10 villagers kidnapped 23 May in Diyarbakır, 10 civilians kidnapped 29 May in Iğdır. PKK 18 May attack on bus in Hakkari killed 1 worker, 21 May bus attack in Istanbul; 25 May suicide car bombing outside police station in Kayseri attributed to PKK, 1 police, 3 assailants killed. Police 8-9 May detained 100 people with alleged connections to Kurdish Communities Union, including 3 with high level links to pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). Turkish Interior Minister Şahin 23 May blamed Turkish air force for accidental Dec 2011 killing of 34 Kurdish smugglers flagged by drone intelligence, accused Syria of allowing PKK to establish bases in its territory. 18 soldiers, including 6 generals detained 18 May in investigation into 1997 military coup, 7 later released; jailed Rear Adm. Çakmak 28 May allegedly threatened revenge for trials. Parliamentary commission 1 May began drafting new civilian constitution. EU Enlargement Commissioner Füle’s visit 14 May revived talks over blocked accession chapters despite Cyprus deadlock. Court 28 May indicted Israeli generals for flotilla attacks (see Israel/ Occupied Palestinian Territories).

Turkey

  |  1 May 2012

Unchanged

PM Erdoğan 20 April declared Turkish military would “completely halt” operations against PKK if group laid down arms; declaration made at meeting with Iraqi Kurdistan President Barzani, who also called on PKK to disarm, rejected group’s presence in N Iraq. 3 soldiers killed, 3 wounded 4,12 April in clashes with PKK near Iraqi border; 2 Turkish soldiers, 1 guard, 4 PKK militants killed in clashes 24 April in SE. Security forces 18 April detained 22 villagers in Hakkâri province on suspicion of aiding PKK, further 7 detained 23 April for alleged PKK youth branch membership; 15 Kurds suspected of Kurdish Communities Union involvement released 10 April pending trial. Trial of 1980 military coup leaders Kenan Evren, Tahsin Şahinkaya started 4 April; 35 more officers detained 12, 19 April in separate probe into 1997 unarmed coup. Syrian regime forces 9 April fired across border at refugee camp, prompting Turkish outrage (see Syria).

Turkey

  |  1 Apr 2012

Unchanged

Police 18 March clashed with Kurdish demonstrators in Istanbul, Diyarbakır during banned Nowruz celebrations. 1 pro-Kurdish BDP politician killed, 135 demonstrators arrested in Istanbul, 9 in Diyarbakır. Motorcycle bomb in Istanbul 1 March injured 15 police, 1 civilian near AKP party offices. Turkish police early March confiscated large amounts of explosives in several cities, reportedly planned for use by PKK during Nowruz. Counterterrorism units 6-16 March arrested 85 across Turkey, including journalists, BDP officials, in operations against Kurdish Communities Union, umbrella organisation including PKK. 7 soldiers, 22 PKK militants killed in 21, 24 March clashes in SE. Army 13 March bombed PKK bases in Northern Iraq. 4 journalists released 13 March from prison pending outcome of trial for plotting to overthrow AKP govt; 104 journalists, 35 media distributors still in detention; special trial of retired General Başbuğ began 26 March for alleged role in coup plot. PM Erdogan 15 March said Turkey considering creating humanitarian buffer zone inside Syria; 17,000 Syrian refugees currently in Turkey, with inflow continuing; Arab League 29 March excluded Turkey, observer member since 2005, from Baghdad summit seemingly in disapproval of Turkish action on Syria.

Turkey

  |  1 Mar 2012

Unchanged

Govt 17 Feb passed emergency legislation allowing PM Erdogan to prevent prosecutors summoning intelligence officials or other public officials from testifying in court after 5 senior intelligence officers, including spy chief Hakan Fidan, called to testify in Kurdish insurgency probe 7 Feb; politicians pledged appeal at Constitutional Court. Police 13 Feb raided labour union HQ in 9 cities in Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) investigation, detained over 100; police 21 Feb detained 13 in Istanbul charged with belonging to KCK youth arm. PKK clashes with security forces continued in southeast: 1 soldier, 13 militants killed 9 Feb in Çukurca, Bingöl provinces; 15 militants, 2 soldiers killed in 14 Feb attack on PKK hideout, Șırnak province. In 12 Feb cross-border bombing, warplanes targeted suspected Kurdish rebel hideouts in Iraq’s Zap, Hakurk regions. Govt welcomed French Constitutional Council’s 28 Feb repeal of “Genocide Law” criminalising denial of Armenian genocide.

Turkey

  |  1 Feb 2012

Unchanged

Former chief of staff Gen Ilker Başbuğ arrested 6 Jan in connection with ongoing coup-plot case; public prosecutor 10 Jan accused opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) leader Kılıçdaroğlu of “attempting to influence fair trial”, asked his parliamentary immunity be removed. 2 militants killed in 1 Jan raid on PKK Diyarbakir hideout; PKK blamed for 19 Jan Hakkari bombing that killed 1, wounded 28, but denied involvement. Over 40 detained 11 Jan in Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) investigation in southeast, Istanbul. 20 detained 13 Jan in 16 provinces during raid, including pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) offices, home of Kurdish deputy Leyla Zana; 31 suspects arrested 17 Jan, including former BDP deputy. BDP 27 Jan petitioned ICC to investigate Jan air strikes that killed 35. Man sentenced 17 Jan to life in prison for 2007 murder of Armenian newspaper editor Hrant Dink; outcry after court dismissed allegations that an organisation was behind it, possibly linked to state entities, led to 19 Jan demonstration of 30,000 in Istanbul. FM Davutoğlu during early Jan Iran visit reiterated that NATO missile shield stationed in Turkey for defensive purposes only; announced 30 Jan will not bar Iranian oil imports unless UN sanctions imposed. Relations with France deteriorated after French Senate 23 Jan adopted bill criminalising denial of Armenian genocide; French politicians 31 Jan moved to rule law unconstitutional.

Turkey

  |  2 Jan 2012

Unchanged

Waves of arrests under anti-terror laws for alleged links to PKK including pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) members, journalists, lawyers, activists and academics; 80 arrested 7-18 Dec; and 38 people, mainly pro-Kurdish journalists including AFP photographer, detained 20 Dec in 7 different cities. Violence in SE continued. Scores of PKK militants killed by security forces including around 50 militants killed 21-22 Dec in Hakkari, Sirnak, Diyarbakir provinces. Turkish military air strike killed 35 Turkish Kurd smugglers on Iraqi border 28 Dec, mistaking them for PKK, triggering nationwide outrage. 1 Turkish soldier killed 22 Dec in landmine blast in Hakkari. EU Council report 9 Dec called on Turkey to improve freedom of expression, especially on freedom of media. French national assembly 22 Dec passed bill which, if passed by Senate, will criminalize denial of genocide including 1915 mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks; Ankara withdrew ambassador, cancelled economic, political and military cooperation. FM Davutoğlu 9 Dec warned Syria it would act to protect itself if Syrian govt crackdown on protesters threatened regional security and unleashed tide of refugees. Opposition Syrian National Council 14 Dec opened HQ in Istanbul.

Turkey

  |  1 Dec 2011

Unchanged

 Ongoing military operations in SE against PKK militants. Scores arrested for suspected PKK-links throughout month, including 47 lawyers of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and members of pro-Kurdish BDP party. Kurdish militant killed by commandos 11 Nov after hijacking ferry with 18 passengers on Sea of Marmara. Turkish diplomatic missions in Syria attacked 12 Nov by pro-Assad crowds; President Gül 14 Nov called attacks unacceptable, warned of measures. Govt 15 Nov cancelled oil exploration plans with Syria in Mediterranean; threatened then pulled back from cutting off electricity supplies. 2 Turkish pilgrims reported injured 21 Nov by gunmen in northern Syria. PM Erdoğan 22 Nov called for Syrian President Assad to step down; 30 Nov announced sanctions on regime. 15 detained 22 Nov for suspected al-Qaeda links in central Anatolian city of Konya. Second earthquake 9 Nov struck southeastern city of Van, killed around 40, after more than 600 killed in 23 Oct earthquake.

Turkey

  |  1 Nov 2011

Unchanged

Several deadly attacks throughout month by PKK including 19 Oct assault on border posts in Hakkari that killed at least 26 soldiers; President Gül vowed “great revenge”. Military responded 20 Oct by launching ground offensive, airstrikes into N Iraq; military said at least 49 PKK killed. Suicide bomber 29 Oct killed 2, wounded 20 in predominantly Kurdish eastern Bingol town. Constitution committee involving all parties in parliament began meeting 19 Oct to discuss new constitution. Over 120 people detained 4 Oct for links to PKK including BDP deputy leader and several mayors. EC 12 Oct presented annual progress report on Turkey, criticised regression in freedom of expression. FM Davutoğlu 17 Oct met with members of Syria’s opposition National Council in Istanbul, urged them to use peaceful methods to achieve democracy. Nearly 600 killed by 23 Oct earthquake in SE Van province.



Turkey

  |  1 Oct 2011

Unchanged

Heightened tensions between PKK and military, which last month began launching air strikes and firing artillery against suspected PKK bases in northern Iraq in retaliation for recent escalation of insurgent attacks. Ankara threatened to carry out ground operation despite opposition from Iraq’s regional Kurdish govt. Car bombing 20 Sept killed 3, wounded 34 in Ankara; PKK-offshoot Kurdistan Freedom Falcons claimed responsibility, PKK denied any role. PM Erdoğan 24 Sept said U.S. agreed in principle to provide Predator drones to Turkey to aid fight against PKK. Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BPD) 27 Sept ended 4-month parliamentary boycott. UN report into May 2010 deadly raid on Gaza-bound protest flotilla published 2 Sept, found Israel used excessive force but blockade of Gaza legal; after report failed to trigger Israeli apology Turkey expelled Israel’s envoy, froze military cooperation. FM Davutoğlu 3 Sept said Turkey will challenge Israel’s blockade on Gaza at ICJ. PM Erdoğan 23 Sept said Turkey had imposed arms embargo on Syria for regime’s crackdown on its people, had already stopped Syrian-flagged ship; said he had “cut all contact” with regime.



Turkey

  |  1 Sep 2011

Deteriorated

Wave of attacks by PKK against security forces in southeast, some 30 security personnel killed during month. In retaliation Turkish military bombarded PKK bases in northern Iraq, claimed up to 160 rebels killed, PKK said few casualties; Iraq criticised military action as violation of border. Federal prosecutor 3 Aug charged 106 Kurdish politicians with terrorist propaganda, including for demanding better conditions for jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. Senior Military Council led by PM Erdoğan named 4 new military commanders following 29 July resignation of chief of general staff, commanders of army, airforce and navy. FM Davutoğlu 15 Aug issued "final word" to Syrian President Assad to end immediately military operations against civilians, said in context of human rights situation not "domestic issue". Meeting of Syrian opposition 20 Aug to set up transitional council hosted in Istanbul.

Turkey

  |  1 Aug 2011

Unchanged

Increased PKK activities during month. 21 soldiers killed in clashes with PKK during month including 13 in 14 July ambush in southeastern Diyarbakır province; over next 2 days thousands of Turkish nationalists attacked BDP buildings in 7 major cities. Main opposition party CHP 12 July ended 2-week parliamentary boycott in protest at ban on jailed deputies; pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) boycott continued. Top 4 generals resigned 29 July in protest over detention of 250 officers in “Ergenekon” coup-plot case. PM Erdoğan 23 July ruled out normalisation of ties with Israel unless Jewish state “officially apologises” for deadly raid on Gaza-bound flotilla last year; UN report on flotilla raid delayed to late August (see Israel/OPT). U.S. Sec of State Clinton 15-16 July visited Turkey, praised anti-terror efforts, but criticised Ankara for restriction on media and freedom of expression. Govt 3 July recognised Transitional National Council as legitimate Libyan govt, promised additional $200 million in aid (see Libya). Number of refugees from Syria housed on Turkish side of border fell to less than 10,000 during month (see Syria).

Turkey

  |  1 Jul 2011

Unchanged

In 12 June parliamentary elections governing AKP won 49.9 per cent of vote but its seats in 550-member parliament went down from 341 to 327. Main opposition party CHP and pro-Kurdish BDP increased seats, nationalist MHP also passed 10 % threshold. Election board 21 June cancelled one BDP deputy’s election citing previous conviction on charges of terrorism propaganda; at 28 June opening of parliament 35 BDP deputies began boycott of parliament and 134 CHP deputies refused to take oath of office in protest at bans on elected candidates. Unrest in Syria forced around 12,000 refugees to flee across border; FM Davutoğlu 15 June warned of potential humanitarian crisis. PM Erdoğan 9 June called Syrian forces crackdown on protesters “savagery”. Syrian regime criticised govt for hosting 31 May-2 June meeting of Syrian dissidents in Antalya. 3 PKK militants killed 14 June in clash with security forces in Sivas province; 1 soldier killed 26 June in PKK attack in Van province; 3 PKK militants killed 28 June in clash with security forces in southeast Tunceli province. In ongoing trial of 152 Kurdish officials, Erzurum High Court 16 June sentenced 11 Kurds to total of 91 years in prison for membership in Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), alleged urban arm of PKK.

Turkey

  |  1 Jun 2011

Unchanged

PM Erdoğan 3 May urged Colonel Qaddafi to “leave power immediately”; day earlier embassy in Tripoli closed. Head of Libya’s Transitional National Council 23 May met FM Davutoğlu in Ankara, voiced support for Turkish roadmap for peace (see Libya). Erdoğan 11 May called on Syrian President Assad to take immediate democratic steps, said momentum toward democracy in Middle East “irreversible” (see Syria). Govt 3 May announced signing of 3 agreements with Iran, including road map for energy investments; U.S. warned Iran may exploit ties to circumvent international sanctions. Escalation in violence between PKK, security forces including 1 police officer killed 4 May in PKK attack on Erdoğan’s campaign convoy in Kastamonu province; military 14 May killed 12 PKK members allegedly crossing border from Iraq. Several demonstrators, police officers injured 4 May in violent protests in SE Diyarbakır during funeral for 4 PKK militants killed Apr. Jailed PKK leader Öcalan 6 May warned govt had until 15 June to signal breakthrough, for instance on new constitution, or risk civil war. 8 injured 26 May in suspected PKK bombing in Istanbul.

Turkey

  |  1 May 2011

Unchanged

1 protester killed, dozens wounded 20 Apr during clashes between pro-Kurdish demonstrators and police in SE provinces. Protests sparked after High Election Board 18 Apr banned 12 Kurdish politicians from contesting 12 June parliamentary elections for previous convictions regarding alleged involvement in terror-related activities; board 21 Apr reversed decision on 8 candidates. 35 members of pro-Kurdish party BDP, including local officials, arrested 25 Apr for suspected links to outlawed PKK in SE Hakkari province; around 20,000 protested detentions. PM Erdoğan 13 Apr rejected allegations of govt curbs on media freedom; hundreds of journalists 15 Apr protested March detention of journalists, lack of freedom of expression. 7 suspected PKK militants killed 1 Apr by security forces in Hatay province near Syrian border. Security forces 28 Apr killed 7 PKK rebels during ongoing operations in east of country. Erdoğan 26 Apr called Syrian President Assad, urged restraint in crackdown on protesters; ambassador to Damascus met Syrian PM Safar, expressed concern over loss of life (see Syria).

Turkey

  |  1 Apr 2011

Unchanged

Thousands protested 13 March in Istanbul against arrest of journalists including 7 for alleged involvement in “Ergenekon” coup-plot case. PM Erdoğan 14 March accused international press of “defamation campaign” against Turkey over coverage of media freedom. European Parliament 9 March adopted critical resolution on progress in Turkey’s EU accession, warned about deterioration in press freedom, urged constitutional reform; foreign ministry described report as one-sided and unacceptable. 3 PKK rebels killed 15 March in shootout with soldiers in southeastern Şırnak province. In first significant attack since Feb end of ceasefire, PKK militants 25 March fired rocket at police station in Diyarbakır province. Pro-Kurdish party BDP 23 March called on Kurds to stage collective acts of civil disobedience in southeast. Parliament 3 March approved parliamentary elections for 12 June. After expressing initial concern over military intervention in Libya, govt 24 March announced backing for NATO command of operations (see Libya).

Turkey

  |  1 Mar 2011

Unchanged

Police used tear gas, water cannons 3 Feb to disperse about 10,000 people protesting labour law; several people injured. 17-year old Kurdish student burned himself to death 14 Feb in protest against PKK founder Abdullah Ocalan’s 1999 detention. Mass protests by pro-Kurdish supporters 15 Feb to mark anniversary of Ocalan’s detention turned into clashes with police in southeast; unrest and clashes between demonstrators and police continued 17-20 Feb. PKK 28 Feb ended unilateral ceasefire due to ruling AKP’s “unwillingness” to solve Kurdish issues, U.S. State Dept 17 Feb expressed “ongoing concerns” about treatment of journalists following 4 Feb arrest of 4 anti-govt journalists for questioning in “Ergenekon” plot to overthrow govt. PM Erdoğan 15 Feb rejected opposition allegations that his govt was interfering in Ergenekon coup trial after Istanbul court jailed at least 155 officers for their role in plot. French President Sarkozy during Ankara visit 25 Feb said Turkey unfit for EU membership. FM Davutoğlu 26 Feb said Turkey will not sign readmission agreement with EU unless talks begin on visa liberalisation.

Turkey

  |  1 Feb 2011

Unchanged

Police 5 Jan clashed with students in Ankara protesting against strong police response to Dec student protests. Security forces 13 Jan clashed with demonstrators in southeastern provinces as trial of 150 Kurdish provincial leaders linked to outlawed PKK resumed. In continuing chill in relations with Israel, PM Erdoğan 13 Jan derided Israel PM Netanyahu’s govt as “worst” in history of Israel, called Israel FM Lieberman Israel’s “greatest problem”. Turkey “surprised, appalled and dismayed” by Israel’s 23 Jan publication of report finding no fault in 31 May 2010 killing of 8 Turks and Turkish-American on Gaza-bound flotilla ship; U.S. said report “credible and impartial and transparent”. Police 15 Jan arrested 17 people with suspected links to Turkish Hizbollah after 9 suspected members of group disappeared following 4 Jan release of 18 members of group and 5 PKK members under new law limiting to 10 years time suspects can be detained without sentencing. FM Davutoğlu and Qatar PM al-Thani 20 Jan suspended efforts to mediate Lebanon’s political crisis after 2 days of talks failed to achieve breakthrough (see Lebanon). Deputy PM Ali Babacan 29 Jan warned EU becoming “Christian club”, criticised lack of progress in EU accession.

Turkey

  |  3 Jan 2011

Unchanged

Controversial trial of 197 active and retired military officers accused of 2003 plot to overthrow govt began 16 Dec. Police and students clashed throughout month during protests against govt higher education reforms. Senior officials from Turkey and Israel 5-6 Dec met in Geneva in attempt to thaw relations; no breakthrough announced. PM Erdogan 20 Dec repeated call for official Israeli apology for deadly raid on Gaza-bound aid flotilla; Israeli PM Netanyahu 27 Dec said Israel would not apologise but willing to express regret at loss of life. Abdullah Ocalan, jailed PKK leader, 9 Dec said group would honour unilateral ceasefire through June 2011. Suspected PKK militant killed 11 Dec in clashes with security forces in south-eastern Batman province; 3 PKK rebels killed 29 Dec in southeast. Annual enlargement debate 14 Dec between EU states criticised Turkey for failure to normalise relations with and open ports to EU member Cyprus but praised Ankara for recent constitutional reform package.

“Trial is next chapter in clash between Turkey’s Muslim leaders, secular elite”, Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2010.

Turkey

  |  1 Dec 2010

Unchanged

At NATO summit in Lisbon Turkey 19 Nov endorsed missile shield after alliance met Ankara’s demands by not naming any country as threat. Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), militant offshoot of PKK, 4 Nov claimed responsibility for 31 Oct suicide attack in Istanbul; said actions autonomous of PKK, denounced unilateral ceasefire. PM Erdogan 24-25 Nov visited Lebanon with aim of calming tension surrounding Special Tribunal for Lebanon investigation (see Lebanon); quoted saying Hizbollah not linked to assassination of former PM Hariri. European Commission 9 Nov issued 2010 progress report on Turkey, including praise for Sep constitutional reforms, criticism for lack of media freedom and slow progress in democratic opening with Kurdish community; Turkish chief EU negotiator called it “most positive progress report so far”.

Turkey

  |  1 Nov 2010

Unchanged

Suicide bomb blast 31 Oct in Istanbul injured 32 people, including 15 police; perpetrators yet to be identified. Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) 1 Nov denied involvement in attack; announced unilateral ceasefire which expired 31 Oct would be extended until June 2011 elections. Parliament 12 Oct granted 12-month extension to military’s mandate to conduct cross-border operations in northern Iraq against outlawed PKK. Despite PKK unilateral ceasefire 2 soldiers, 1 Kurdish militant killed in 13 Oct clash in southeast Tunceli province; 3 PKK rebels killed 14 Oct during ongoing security forces operation in region. 4 regular and 3 reserve members of 11-seat Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) resigned 11 Oct to protest govt constitutional amendments passed by Sept national referendum. Trial began 18 Oct of more than 150 Kurds, including 12 elected mayors, charged with membership of KCK, alleged urban arm of outlawed PKK. Turkish lawyers representing pro-Palestinian activists 14 Oct filed complaint with ICC accusing Israel of war crimes during May deadly raid on Turkish-owned Gaza-bound aid flotilla. Police 26 Oct arrested 12 people in Istanbul suspected of aiding al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.



Turkey

  |  1 Oct 2010

Unchanged

12 Sept referendum on changes to 1982 military-drafted constitution passed with 58% voting in favour; 77% turnout despite Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party’s calls for Kurdish boycott. 26 amendments proposed by PM Erdoğan’s AKP govt include making military more accountable to civilian courts and greater executive authority over judiciary. EU praised changes as “step in the right direction”, urged undertaking other reforms. PKK’s 1 month unilateral ceasefire extended 29 Sept by another month. Despite ceasefire 9 militants killed 6 Sept in clash with security forces in Hakkari in south east. Roadside bomb in Hakkari 16 Sept killed 9 civilians, injured 4; PKK denied responsibility. Govt 23 Sept met pro-Kurdish party BDP for negotiations; raised hopes for disarming PKK insurgency. Turkey 1 Sept submitted report on Israel’s 31 May deadly raid on Gaza-bound flotilla to 4-member UN panel. Israeli President Peres 20 Sept said meeting with Turkish counterpart Gül on sidelines of UNGA cancelled after Turkey set “unacceptable” preconditions; Gül denied meeting was scheduled. UNHRC fact-finding mission 22 Sept concluded Israeli raid on Gaza flotilla “unlawful”; Turkey welcomed report, Israel dismissed as “biased”.

  • “Erdogan wins again”, Economist, 16 Sept. 2010.



Turkey

  |  1 Sep 2010

Unchanged

After 3 month intensification in attacks by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), group 14 Aug declared unilateral ceasefire until 20 Sept for Ramadan, said ceasefire could last longer if Turkish govt satisfies certain conditions; govt 18 Aug said would never negotiate with an “illegal organisation”; PM Erdoğan 23 Aug said state bodies (inc intelligence institutions) may talk to jailed PKK leader Ocalan. Prior to ceasefire, 4 civilians killed 1 Aug by alleged PKK roadside bomb in southeast Turkey; 3 PKK rebels, 1 police officer killed 3 Aug in attack on southeast Siirt police station; 1 soldier, at least 6 PKK rebels died 5 Aug in clashes in eastern Agrı province; 3 soldiers killed 8 Aug in southeast by alleged PKK landmine explosion. Turkey and Israel 10 Aug agreed to 4-person investigation into Israel’s 31 May deadly raid on Gaza-bound flotilla, reporting directly to UNSG and headed by former New Zealand PM Palmer. Turkey 12 Aug established own national commission on raid to draft report to be given to UN panel. Turkish govt and military agreed to compromise 5 Aug after political stand-off over military’s role in alleged 2003 anti-govt coup: military agreed not to promote 11 senior officers accused of involvement in coup plot, in return govt annulled arrest warrants against 102 officers.



Turkey

  |  1 Aug 2010

Unchanged

New waves of attacks by PKK saw more than 20 members of security forces killed in month; army’s bombing of PKK bases in northern Iraq continued. Militants bombed pipelines carrying natural gas from Iraq 3 July and Iran 20 July, temporarily suspending supply. PKK leader Murat Karayılan 21 July said group would disarm if govt agreed to UN-monitored ceasefire and certain conditions, threatened attacks on major cities; govt refused to comment. More than 5,000 protestors clashed with police 11 July in southeast city of Diyarbakir during pro-PKK rally; at least 10 arrested. Clashes between Turks and Kurds 25 July in Inegol province. 4 police officers killed 26 July by suspected PKK gunmen leading to further ethnic clashes 27 July in southeastern Hatay province. Istanbul court 19 July indicted 196 people including 30 retired or serving military officers for conspiring to overthrow govt in 2003. Constitutional Court 7 July rejected demands by main opposition Republican People’s Party to annul package of constitutional amendments, approved 12 Sept referendum, asked for revisions to articles giving more authority to President over Constitutional Court appointment processes. FM Davutoğlu 6 July said Israel’s internal investigation of Gaza flotilla raid insufficient, Turkey expects Israel to apologise or accept international investigation. Israel FM Lieberman reiterated Israel has no intention of apologising.

Turkey

  |  1 Jul 2010

Deteriorated

Deadly PKK attacks escalated after group 3 June announced end to unilateral 14-month ceasefire, citing continued attacks on PKK targets by security forces. Violence peaked 19-21 June as 13 soldiers and at least 17 militants killed in clashes in south-east; 19 June single bloodiest day for army since 2008. Two further clashes 30 June killed 2 soldiers, 3 village guards and 12 PKK militants. Bombings by militants in Istanbul 8, 22 June killed 6, injured 28. PM Erdogan 20 June vowed to annihilate PKK, criticised EU 24 June for “turning a blind eye” to PKK. U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey 21 June pledged active support to defeat organisation. Military 20 June launched land, air offensive against PKK bases in Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq; Iraqi FM Zebari 20 June criticised “unilateral” Turkish action. Trial of 30 PKK supporters began 17 June; group returned from exile Oct 2009 without threat of trial as part of govt reconciliation effort. Police 9 June arrested 17 people suspected of ties to al-Qaeda in simultaneous raids in 4 cities. Debate about Turkey’s foreign policy direction fuelled by Turkey’s strong anti-Israeli rhetoric after Israel’s raid 31 May on Gaza-bound aid ship (see Israel-OPT), and Turkey’s 9 June “no” vote on UNSC resolution mandating new round of sanctions on Iran; U.S. expressed disappointment, Turkey said vote was ethical given ongoing diplomatic efforts to solve nuclear dispute.

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