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Turkey

Turkey faces myriad internal and external challenges, including an escalating conflict with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, a crisis over three million Syrian refugees, threats posed by the Islamic State (ISIS), and growing social and political polarisation exacerbated by a July 2016 coup attempt. Crisis Group maintains a unique tracker of the death toll in the PKK conflict and conducts field research to prevent, mitigate or end deadly violence and its consequences. Our ten-year-old presence in Turkey puts us in a unique position to engage the government and all parties not just on domestic crises but also to help Turkey stabilise its exceptionally turbulent neighbourhood.

CrisisWatch Turkey

Unchanged Situation

President Erdoğan won 24 June general election with 52.5% of vote, ahead of Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Muharrem İnce’s 30.7%. Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) won 293 of 600 parliament seats, and AKP ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) 50 seats; CHP won 146 seats; and pro-Kurdish Free Democratic Party (HDP) 67 seats. Amid intensified pressure on Kurdish movement in run-up to 24 June general election, HDP 13 June announced at least 208 party members were detained and 57 offices and booths attacked during campaign period; tensions turned violent 16 June when clash between pro-HDP shopkeepers and AKP delegation in south-eastern HDP-stronghold of Suruç left four dead, including three HDP supporters and brother of an AKP MP. Campaign period also saw opening up of renewed debate on Kurdish demands, with some candidates adopting more constructive stance on Kurdish issue. Security operations in south east against Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) continued with threefold increase in casualties compared to May, concentrated in rural areas Hakkari and Şırnak. Turkey’s offensive into northern Iraq targeting PKK positions also intensified. Turkey and U.S. 4 June reached roadmap agreement on Manbij district, northern Syria, to ensure withdrawal of Syrian Kurdish militia YPG (People’s Protection Units). UN 11 June expressed concern that fighting and airstrikes in Syria’s Idlib province would create new influx of refugees into Turkey. Reported incidents between Syrian refugees and host communities increased slightly; three killed as argument in southern city Gaziantep escalated into shooting. U.S. Senate 18 June passed bill blocking sale of F-35 jets to Turkey in response to govt’s purchase of air defence missile systems from Russia; relations with U.S. further complicated by ongoing tensions surrounding hydrocarbon drilling in Aegean Sea (see Cyprus). Detentions and arrests of ISIS suspects continued.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

30 Jun 2018
The success of the AKP-MHP partnership shows that the Islamist-nationalist fusion is alive and kicking in Turkish society. Financial Times

Nigar Göksel

Project Director, Turkey
16 Mar 2018
Russia needs both the Syrian regime and Turkey. So it has to give a little bit to both and it has to ... make them equally angry, if that's what it wants. Rudaw

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
21 Feb 2018
The most worrisome development that we saw was that among Turkish citizens there is a negative stance towards the long-term integration of Syrians across the political spectrum. InfoMigrants

Nigar Göksel

Project Director, Turkey
31 Jan 2018
Saying that Afrin will be returned to its rightful owners will leave many people wondering if they can return after the fighting [between Turkey and Kurdish forces in northern Syria] is over. AFP

Heiko Wimmen

Project Director, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
30 Jan 2018
[If Washington and Ankara do not set the necessary de-escalation mechanism], things could get especially messy if Turkey expands operation to Manbij as U.S. and Turkish forces could collide. Xinhua

Noah Bonsey

Senior Analyst, Syria
27 Jan 2018
[The Turkish offensive targeting Afrin] highlights the fundamental difficulty of a U.S. strategy that requires maintaining active alliances with two forces which are at war with each other. The Washington Post

Noah Bonsey

Senior Analyst, Syria

Latest Updates

Video: Russia and Turkey in the Black Sea and the South Caucasus

Crisis Group's Europe & Central Asia Program Director Magdalena Grono talks about the relations between Russia and Turkey as they reflect on the Black Sea and the South Caucasus.

Der Faden, an dem die deutsch-türkischen Beziehungen hängen

Ein Gespräch mit Berkay Mandıracı von der „International Crisis Group Istanbul“ über soziale Spannungen in türkischen Großstädten, die Unterstützung der EU und die Rolle der Flüchtlinge in der türkischen Außenpolitik.

Originally published in Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

Bilgi Notu | Türkiye’deki Suriyeliler: Kentsel Gerilimleri Azaltmak

Çok sayıda Suriyeliye ev sahipliği yapan ve son dönemde kimi sosyal gerilimlerin yaşandığı İstanbul, Ankara ve İzmir’in bazı mahallelerinde kapsamlı saha araştırmamızın sonucunda 29 Ocak 2018 tarihinde “Türkiye’deki Suriyeliler: Kentsel Gerilimleri Azaltmak” adlı raporumuz İngilizce olarak yayınlandı. Bu Bilgi Notu, özellikle Ankara karar alıcıları ve yereldeki yetkili mercilere yönelik rapordaki çözüm önerilerini özetlemektedir.

Integrating Syrian Refugees in Istanbul’s “District of Victimhood”

Sultangazi is home to a mix of religious and ethnic groups – as well as 50,000 Syrian refugees. The district received the refugees warmly. But resentment is rising, as public services suffer and opposition forces suspect the ruling party of using refugees to exacerbate social divisions.

Video / Europe & Central Asia

Video: Integrating Syrian Refugees in Istanbul's "District of Victimhood"

Crisis Group’s Turkey Project Director Nigar Göksel talks about identity politics and growing frictions in the job market between Syrian refugees and host communities in the refugee-dense neighbourhoods of Turkey’s major western cities.

Our People

Alçay Akay

Office Manager, Turkey

Nigar Göksel

Project Director, Turkey
nigargoksel

Berkay Mandıracı

Analyst, Turkey
BerkayMANDIRACI