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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

Military operations in south east continued, with near fourfold increase in fatalities in March and April (30 state security force members, at least 41 Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, three civilians) compared to Jan-Feb (nine security force members, at least eleven PKK militants). Fatalities in April concentrated mostly in Şırnak, Hakkari and Hatay. Military continued cross-border attacks in northern Iraq targeting PKK positions; security sources 28 March reported military establishing new base in Hakkari’s Şemdinli district near Iraqi border to combat PKK. Crackdown on Kurdish movement members/sympathisers continued. President Erdoğan 18 April called for early presidential and parliamentary elections to be held 24 June. Govt extended state of emergency for seventh time hours after election announcement, prompting small-scale opposition protests across country. EU annual progress report 17 April for Turkey, considered most negative to date, underlined govt’s “legitimate right to fight against terrorism” and praised efforts to integrate Syrian refugees, but was highly critical of country’s democratic trajectory, erosion of rule of law and limiting of freedoms, argued that Turkey moving away from EU; also stressed that security measures should be proportionate; highlighted problem of immunity of security forces for reported killings in anti-PKK operations. Tensions between Greece and Turkey mounted as latter continued to hold two Greek soldiers who crossed into Turkish territory early March. Greece 10 April shot at Turkish helicopter near islet of Ro; Greek fighter jet 12 April crashed into Aegean while returning from intercept mission, resulting in death of pilot. Turkish media reported 27 April that security forces had caught Islamic State (ISIS) suspect in western Izmir province who reportedly had functioned as organisation’s “emir” in Syria’s Deir al-Zour, and mingled with Syrian refugees attempting to cross to Europe.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

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
26 Jan 2018
[The war initiated by Turkey’s military and its Syrian proxies] is likely to prove indecisive and costly for both sides. Rudaw

Noah Bonsey

Senior Analyst, Syria

Latest Updates

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

Berkay Mandıracı

Analyst, Turkey