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Türkiye

Crisis Group has worked in Türkiye 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 Türkiye 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 Türkiye

Unchanged Situation

Authorities pursued plans for military operation against Kurdish militants in Syria and detained dozens of Kurdish party members at home; meanwhile, tensions with Greece rose. President Erdoğan 1 June announced fifth cross-border operation into northern Syria, hoping to clear Tal Rifaat and Manbij of People’s Protection Forces (YPG) militants – Syrian affiliate of Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) – and extend 30km “safe zone” south of border (see Syria); U.S. and Russian opposition appeared, for now, to stall operation. Military also continued PKK operations in northern Iraq and, to lesser extent, south-eastern Turkey, albeit at slower pace compared to May. At home, authorities increased pressure on pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP). Notably, police 3 June detained over 40 HDP members, including party’s provincial co-chairs in Istanbul, Bingöl, and Edirne cities; 8 June detained over 20 Kurdish journalists in south-eastern majority Kurdish province of Diyarbakır, 16 of whom were later arrested on terrorism propaganda charges. Authorities detained at least 110 individuals with alleged Islamic State links during month. Tensions escalated with Greece over Eastern Mediterranean/Aegean Sea disputes. After complaining in May about Turkish military flights over Greek islands, Athens 1 June put its military on high alert and 6 June protested Türkiye’s actions at UN; Turkish officials accused Greece of militarising eastern Aegean islands in contravention of international treaties. Greek defence minister 7 June said Athens was “dangerously close to its limits”, while FM Çavuşoğlu same day questioned Greek sovereignty over some Aegean islands, which drew harsh reactions from Athens. NATO Sec Gen Jens Stoltenberg 14 June called on sides to de-escalate and resolve disputes; tensions and military manoeuvres in Aegean Sea raise risk that small incident could spark escalation. Defying expectations at NATO summit, Ankara 29 June lifted veto on Finland and Sweden’s accession in return for measures from both countries addressing its concerns. Ankara continued efforts to establish safe corridor to ship over 20 tonnes of grain from Ukraine, critical for global food security (see Ukraine). Govt remained invested in diplomatic efforts to normalise ties with regional adversaries, receiving Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman 22 June (see Saudi Arabia).

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

27 Jun 2022
Ankara has been infuriated, quite frankly, with U.S. support for Kurdish groups in northern Syria in the fight against ISIS. Time

Alissa de Carbonnel

Deputy Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
11 Jul 2021
Turkey can't afford economically or politically to absorb a new wave of refugees [from Syria]. AFP

Dareen Khalifa

Senior Analyst, Syria
13 Jun 2021
How do you not lose Turkey while you try to curb Erdogan? Erdogan is trying to find a way forward when they are trying to make sure he does not score political points. The New York Times

Nigar Göksel

Project Director, Türkiye
25 Mar 2021
The EU has parked sanctions in the drawer for now. But, on the flip side, the bloc might not have much to offer Turkey in the way of carrots. Associated Press

Alissa de Carbonnel

Deputy Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
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, Türkiye
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

Senior Analyst, Türkiye

Latest Updates

Q&A / Europe & Central Asia

Turkey-Armenia Talks Hold Promise of Opening Long-Shut Border

Turkish and Armenian special envoys will meet in Moscow on 14 January to discuss normalising relations between these long-estranged neighbours. Crisis Group experts Olesya Vartanyan, Nigar Göksel and Zaur Shiriyev unpack how the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh war in 2020 opened the way for talks.

Turkey Recalibrates Its Hard Power

Ankara believes it has reaped strategic benefits from military involvement in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh. Yet it has paid a price as well, discomfiting both allies and adversaries. Now, Turkey hopes to rebuild ties so as to consolidate its new gains.

Commentary / Africa

Turkey in the Sahel

Ankara is strengthening ties with Sahelian capitals, building mosques and hospitals and opening up export markets. Its defence pact with Niamey has led rivals to suspect its intentions. Turkey and other outside powers should do what they can to avoid unnecessary additional competition in the region.

Also available in Français

Defusing Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean

This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Hugh Pope talk with Crisis Group’s Nigar Göksel about the nationalist tensions fuelling a maritime standoff between Turkey and Greece, and how coordinated efforts by regional powers can help de-escalate their dispute over the eastern Mediterranean.

Video - Türkiye-Yunanistan: Denizlerde gerilim siyasetinden diyaloğa

2020'nin ortasında Türkiye ve Yunanistan, Akdeniz’deki filolarını üst düzey alarm seviyesine geçirdi ve hava, su, kara ve deniz dibi gaz yatakları konusunda uzun süredir devam eden anlaşmazlıklarındaki gerginlik ciddi şekilde yükseldi. Görüşmeler ağır aksak ilerliyor olsa da, çatışma riskini azaltmanın en iyi yolu iki ülkenin aralarındaki diyaloğu güçlendirmeleri.

Our People

Alçay Akay

Office Manager, Türkiye

Nigar Göksel

Project Director, Türkiye
nigargoksel

Berkay Mandıracı

Senior Analyst, Türkiye
BerkayMANDIRACI