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Crisis Group has worked in Turkey for well over a decade, engaging the government and a range of other stakeholders in order to develop analysis of the country's domestic and regional concerns and to advocate for ways of ending, mitigating or preventing conflict. At home, these concerns include the threat of escalated fighting with Kurdistan Workers’ Party militants and the uncertainty presented by jihadists returning from foreign battlefields, as well as the political, economic and social strains of hosting over four million refugees. In its immediate neighbourhood and beyond, Ankara has become a crucial player whose alliances and geopolitical ambitions are shaping various conflicts and prospects for their resolution. As Turkey finds its place in a changing world order, Crisis Group provides insights into how its policies, and those of its partners, may better contribute to peace and stability.


CrisisWatch Turkey

Unchanged Situation

Turkish military continued operations against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq in rural areas of Turkey’s south east, while tensions rose in eastern Mediterranean. In northern Iraq, Turkish military reportedly seized control of Jaldah mountain as well as the areas of Mamand and Kohareş located in Haftanin region and conducted 15 air raids on PKK positions throughout month, including drone strike 11 Aug that reportedly killed several PKK militants and two Iraqi army officers in the Sidakan area in north-eastern Iraq (see Iraq); in retaliation, PKK 17 Aug announced it had shot down Turkish helicopter, which was unconfirmed. In south east, amid small scale clashes with PKK militants, security forces 12 Aug launched major anti-PKK operation in Amanos mountains in southern border province of Hatay; operation is fourth of its kind announced since 20 July. In northern Syria, low-intensity clashes continued between Turkish security forces and People’s Protection Units (YPG). Govt continued moves toward criminalising members of Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP); police detained at least 95 HDP members throughout month. Govt continued crackdown on Islamic State (ISIS) in Turkey: security personnel reportedly detained 83 individuals with suspected ISIS links throughout month. Security forces 13 Aug in Bursa province’s İnegöl district detained foreign national who illegally entered Turkey from Syria reportedly plotting suicide attack. Amid continued Turkish drilling in disputed maritime areas in eastern Mediterranean and reported collision 12 Aug between Greek frigate and Turkish vessel, tensions rose with Greece and Republic of Cyprus (see Cyprus). Following visit to Athens, German FM Heiko Maas 25 Aug visited Ankara to help defuse tensions; Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Turkey is ready for dialogue without any preconditions but talks must not include Greek preconditions either. Following the conclusions of the informal EU foreign council 28 Aug, Turkish MFA released a statement saying the EU has no authority to criticise Turkey’s hydrocarbon activities within its continental shelf and asking EU countries to refrain from supporting “Greece’s maximalist claims that violate international law”. COVID-19 cases began to resurge throughout month with 1,200-1,500 cases reported daily since the start of August.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

4 Sep 2020
It seems that what is left of ISIS networks now is that they are getting organized in smaller groups of five or six people who may not be connected to each other even. New Delhi Times

Berkay Mandıracı

Analyst, Turkey
28 Aug 2020
The adversarial positions of the UAE and Turkey across the Middle East and North Africa are spilling into the East Mediterranean dispute. Time

Nigar Göksel

Project Director, Turkey
22 Aug 2020
Turkey is also one of the candidates to rebuild Beirut harbour. There is also a section within Lebanese society – amongst Sunni Muslims – who have some sympathy for Turkey’s neo-Ottoman project. Cyprus Mail

Heiko Wimmen

Project Director, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
22 Jul 2020
The use of drone technology appears to have significantly shifted the balance of power on the ground, allowing Turkish forces to go after militants in areas previously difficult to penetrate. WTVB

Berkay Mandıracı

Analyst, Turkey
27 Feb 2020
Getting out [of Idlib] altogether, allowing the refugees to come into Turkey and letting Assad take that space is not an idea that’s going to resonate with Turkish society. Financial Times

Nigar Göksel

Project Director, Turkey
21 Feb 2020
[Turkey has been using Russia] to push back against policies that it doesn’t like from its Western partners. BloombergQuint

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa

Latest Updates

How is Turkey dealing with its ISIS returnees? (Online Event, 2nd July 2020)

Online Event to discuss International Crisis Group's report "Calibrating the Response: Turkey’s ISIS Returnees".

The Regionalisation of Libya's Civil War (Online Event, 5th May 2020)

Crisis Group's Libya Senior Analyst Claudia Gazzini and Turkey Project Director Nigar Göksel held a panel moderated by our Communications & Outreach Director Hugh Pope to discuss Crisis Group's 29 April report on outside intervention in Libya.

Turkey's Gamble in Libya


In this interview, Crisis Group's Libya Expert Claudia Gazzini try to provide some insight into Turkey's relation with Libya and the Mediterranean neighbourhood.

COVID-19’un Gölgesinde AB-Türkiye Göçmen Krizi

Originally published Perspektif

Küresel COVID-19 salgını ile birlikte Türkiye’deki dört milyonu aşkın mülteci ve İdlib’de yerinden edilmiş milyonlarca sivilin belki de her zamankinden daha çok AB’nin desteğine ihtiyacı var. Bu kriz döneminde AB-Türkiye göç işbirliğini ayakta tutmak önemli, ancak iki taraf arasında yıllardır süregelen gerginlikler ve güvensizlik sebebiyle bir o kadar da zor.

Q&A / Europe & Central Asia

Deadly Clashes in Syria’s Idlib Show Limits of Turkey’s Options

A deadly attack on Turkish forces in Syria has brought Idlib’s crisis to a dangerous crossroads. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Turkey, Syria and Russia experts explain what happened and what’s at stake.

Our People

Alçay Akay

Office Manager, Turkey

Nigar Göksel

Project Director, Turkey

Berkay Mandıracı

Analyst, Turkey