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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

Security operations continued against Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) in south-eastern Turkey and northern Iraq, while Ankara sought regional support against group. In Turkey’s south east, Turkish military continued operations again PKK in rural areas of Mardin, Muş, Bingöl, Hakkari and Van provinces. In northern Iraq, after Turkish military 31 Aug seized control of two strategic locations in the Haftanin region, military conducted 14 reported air raids on PKK positions throughout month. PKK continued to wage attacks against Turkish military: PKK militants 4 Sept assaulted Turkish excavator south of Hantur mountain range and 11 Sept attempted to infiltrate two Turkish military outposts in Haftanin. President Erdoğan and FM Çavuşoğlu 4 Sept received Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Nechirvan Barzani in Ankara to discuss “joint fight against PKK” among other issues. Erdoğan and Iranian President Rouhani 8 Sept vowed cooperation against PKK and its Iranian affiliate the Kurdistan Free Life Party. In northern Syria, low-intensity clashes continued between Turkish forces and People’s Protection Units (YPG); YPG-attributed car bomb attack in Syria’s Ras al-Ayn 24 Sept injured 12 civilians. Russian-Turkish ceasefire held in Idlib despite strains (see Syria). Govt continued moves toward criminalising members of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP); police detained more than 130 HDP members or sympathisers throughout month; detention of 82 individuals and activists, including HDP co-mayor, over their alleged role in the Oct 2014 Kobani protests drew international criticism. Govt continued with operations against Islamic State (ISIS) in Turkey: security personnel reportedly detained over 150 individuals with suspected ISIS links throughout month. Defence ministry 28 Sept announced capture of alleged al-Qaeda affiliate Islom Saydalimov in the southern Hatay province. Amid ongoing tensions between Turkey and Greece over drilling activities in eastern Mediterranean, both sides expressed willingness to defuse tensions through talks (see Cyprus).

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

7 Oct 2020
Drones have enabled [Turkey] to drive the PKK out of mountainous pockets where they had established a significant presence. Financial Times

Nigar Göksel

Project Director, Turkey
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

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.

Sharing the Burden: Revisiting the EU-Turkey Migration Deal

Thousands of migrants who tried to enter Europe from Turkey after the latter opened its borders in late February are stranded at the frontier. Ankara triggered this particular problem, but European states should nonetheless shoulder a larger burden in helping alleviate the broader displacement crisis.

Our People

Alçay Akay

Office Manager, Turkey

Nigar Göksel

Project Director, Turkey

Berkay Mandıracı

Analyst, Turkey