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CrisisWatch Turkey

Unchanged Situation

Fatalities in conflict between govt and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) remained low while security situation in Turkish-controlled territory in Syria continued to be volatile, and parliament approved military deployment to Libya raising stakes in eastern Mediterranean. Harsh winter conditions resulted in fewer casualties in PKK conflict in south east. Interior Ministry 11 Jan announced completion of Operation Kiran after 11th phase of military operation against PKK. Military 10 Jan launched Operation Kapan in attempt to clear out militants from rural areas of southern Hatay, south-eastern Mardin and Batman provinces. President Erdoğan 8 Jan met Russian President Putin in Turkey to discuss military situation in Syria; following meeting, Putin 10 Jan announced ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib province. Temporary ceasefire failed to halt Syrian govt attacks there. Erdoğan 29 Jan criticised Russia for not abiding by its commitments under Sochi and Astana accords in Idlib region. UN same day said violence in Idlib province had displaced nearly 390,000 in past two months. Amid rising number of displaced persons, Erdoğan 31 Jan expressed concern at new threats near Turkey’s border and said Turkey ready to take necessary steps including using military force in Syria. In Turkey-controlled area of north east Syria, Defence Ministry 8 and 16 Jan said seven Turkish soldiers had died in car bomb attacks attributed to Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units. Parliament 2 Jan authorised troop deployment to Libya to support Tripoli-based Govt of National Accord; military has reportedly deployed 80 Turkish officers for training and coordination purposes as well as some 2,000 allied Syrian fighters. Erdoğan 14 Jan vowed Turkey would not refrain from “teaching Haftar a lesson” if latter’s forces maintained offensive on Tripoli (see Libya). FM Çavuşoğlu 18 Jan accused Greece of sabotaging efforts to bring peace to Libya following 17 Jan visit by Haftar to Athens in response to its exclusion from 19 Jan Berlin Conference on Libya; accusation comes amid rising tensions between Turkey and Greece particularly over Turkey-Libya maritime deal (see Cyprus).

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

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
14 Feb 2020
Escalation is likely going to continue [in Syria] as long as Turkey and Russia cannot agree on a new cease-fire. NBC News

Berkay Mandıracı

Analyst, Turkey
8 Oct 2019
L'EI constitue toujours une menace qui pourrait métastaser si les FDS voient leur attention et leurs ressources détournées [...] au profit d'une bataille défensive contre la Turquie. Le Nouvel Obs

Sam Heller

Senior Analyst, Non-state Armed Groups
7 Oct 2019
[By deciding to withdraw its troops from North East Syria] the United States just threw away the last leverage it had. The New York Times

Dareen Khalifa

Senior Analyst, Syria
28 Sep 2019
Even if efforts to create a 'buffer zone' [in Northern Syria] succeed, the underlying source of tension will remain and with it, the potential for a Turkish military response to Ankara's perceived YPG threat. AFP

Dareen Khalifa

Senior Analyst, Syria
23 Jul 2019
Today's news that Turkey's suspended the readmission agreement with the EU will not make much practical difference for either Brussels or Ankara nor for refugees/migrants. Twitter

Nigar Göksel

Project Director, Turkey

Latest Updates

Report / Europe & Central Asia

Mitigating Risks for Syrian Refugee Youth in Turkey’s Şanlıurfa

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.

Also available in Türkçe

Prospects for a Deal to Stabilise Syria’s North East

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.

Also available in العربية, Türkçe

How Turkey’s Ties to the West May Survive the Syrian War

Crisis Group's Middle East & North Africa Program Director Joost Hiltermann participated in the 2018 Körber Policy Game, designed to explore possible outcomes in the event of a crisis between Turkey and the West in Syria. While the exercise underscored many of the Syrian conflict's complexities, it also revealed that a strong desire by stakeholders to find common ground can help overcome them.

Video: Russia and Turkey in the Black Sea and the South Caucasus

Crisis Group's Europe & Central Asia Program Director Magdalena Grono talks about the relations between Russia and Turkey as they reflect on the Black Sea and the South Caucasus.

Our People

Alçay Akay

Office Manager, Turkey

Nigar Göksel

Project Director, Turkey

Berkay Mandıracı

Analyst, Turkey