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.
Originally published in Chatham House
Authorities reported dwindling number of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants across country, and continued operations against alleged Islamic State supporters. Interior minister 8 Sept claimed number of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in country had dropped below 200 for first time since conflict began, claiming “Turkey has been cleared of terror”; Defence Minister Hulusi Akar same day vowed to continue fight against group with determination “until the last terrorist is neutralised”. Turkey continued operations against PKK in northern Iraq as airstrikes targeted suspected PKK targets throughout month; defence minister 12, 17 and 24 Sept announced death of Turkish soldiers in northern Iraq (see Iraq). Govt continued efforts to delegitimise pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP); police 1 Sept detained more than 50 individuals protesting on World Peace Day in economic capital Istanbul, including HDP members and party officials. Security units continued to carry out operations against Islamic State (ISIS) cells/operatives across country. Notably, police during month detained more than 80 individuals for their alleged links to ISIS, majority of them foreigners (mostly Syrian and Iraqi nationals).
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.
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.
Turkey can't afford economically or politically to absorb a new wave of refugees [from Syria].
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.
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.
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.
This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Hugh Pope are joined by veteran Turkish diplomat Ambassador Selim Yenel for a close look at Turkey’s newly assertive regional policy and how to get key relationships with allies in Europe and the U.S. back on track.
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.