In mid-2020, Turkey and Greece put their Mediterranean fleets on high alert, dramatically raising tensions in their long-running dispute over air, water, rock and now seabed gas deposits as well. Talks have been frustrating but remain the best way to contain the risk of conflict.
Originally published in Chatham House
Authorities continued military operations against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in country’s south east and in northern Iraq, and pursued crackdown on suspected ISIS supporters. In south east, military mostly targeted PKK militants and hideouts in Tunceli, Mardin and Ağrı provinces. In northern Iraq’s Duhok area, air raids and ground operations intensified as Turkish forces advanced into Amedi district. Despite objections from Baghdad, govt early May announced new base in Iraq’s Kani Masi sub-district in Duhok. President Erdoğan 17 May said that military operation in northern Iraq killed high-ranking PKK militant who allegedly ordered killing of 13 Turkish captives during Gara incident in Feb; PKK by month’s end had yet to confirm his death. Govt continued efforts to criminalise pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP); Turkish security units detained more than 100 individuals affiliated with HDP during month, mostly in country’s south-eastern provinces. Notably, authorities 26 May sentenced former co-mayor of Iğdır province to seven years and six months in prison for “membership to a terrorist organisation”. Security forces continued operations against Islamic State (ISIS) operatives; police throughout month detained some 70 individuals with suspected ISIS links. Notably, police 20 May detained 18 ISIS-affiliated foreign nationals, suspected of plotting attacks, across ten districts in economic capital Istanbul. Turkey-U.S. ties were further strained this month by series of statements from senior Turkish officials condemning Israeli actions amid outbreak of fighting with Gaza-based Palestinian armed factions (see Israel-Palestine). Notably, U.S. 18 May condemned Erdoğan for “anti-Semitic comments regarding the Jewish people” and said it found them “reprehensible”; Turkish foreign ministry 19 May replied that statement was “unfounded”.
Turkey, like many countries, must figure out how to handle thousands of citizens coming home from jihadist battlefields abroad. None has mounted a domestic attack since 2017, but the danger is not gone. Authorities should consider adding enhanced social programs to their law-and-order approach.
Turkish intervention in Libya’s war stopped the besieged Tripoli government from collapsing. But fighting with Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s forces has since escalated, threatening a protracted conflict. Both Ankara and Haftar’s regional backers should urge their allies toward a return to negotiations and a ceasefire.
Gulf states are competing for influence in the Horn of Africa to control the Red Sea, transposing internal rivalries onto a fragile region. Horn governments should increase their bargaining power with their powerful neighbours, who should recognise the risks their policies pose to regional security.
Turkey hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees, half of whom are under eighteen. Despite European aid, tensions are rising as the country strains to accommodate the influx. The answer is smarter integration policies aimed particularly at meeting the needs of vulnerable youth.
Much of north-eastern Syria has been safe during the civil war. But in the event of U.S. military withdrawal, a mad scramble for control could be unleashed. Washington and Moscow should help their respective allies in Syria reach a decentralisation deal for the area.
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 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.
Drones have enabled [Turkey] to drive the PKK out of mountainous pockets where they had established a significant presence.
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.
The adversarial positions of the UAE and Turkey across the Middle East and North Africa are spilling into the East Mediterranean dispute.
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.
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.
Türkiye Direktörümüz Nigar Göksel Türkiye-Yunanistan ilişkileri raporumuzun temel bulgularını ve önerilerini Medyascope'tan Işın Eliçin ile konuştu.
In this week’s episode of Hold Your Fire!, Nigar Göksel, Crisis Group’s Turkey director, dissects Turkey’s assertive moves in places ranging from Syria and Iraq to Libya, the eastern Mediterranean, and now Nagorno-Karabakh.
Online Event to discuss International Crisis Group's report "Calibrating the Response: Turkey’s ISIS Returnees".