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CrisisWatch Turkey

Unchanged Situation

Military continued operations against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in country’s south east and northern Iraq. Military throughout month continued operations targeting PKK militants in rural areas of country’s south east, mainly in Bitlis, Mardin and Diyarbakır provinces; fatalities further decreased this month likely owing to harsh winter conditions in mountainous areas. Military also continued air raids targeting PKK positions in northern Iraq during month. Following recent clashes in northern Iraq between PKK/People’s Protection Unit (YPG) and Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), Defence Minister Hulusi Akar 19 Jan visited Iraq’s capital Baghdad and later Erbil to meet high-ranking Iraqi and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials; following meeting with KRGPM Masrour Barzani, Akar said: “We should increase our cooperation and together stand against the PKK with determination”, and pledged military support to oust PKK from Sinjar if requested. Govt efforts to criminalise pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) persisted: police detained more than 80 HDP members or affiliates throughout month; notably, Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office 13 Jan reportedly launched proceedings to remove immunity of nine HDP MPs, including party’s co-chair Pervin Buldan, for allegedly inciting violence during 2014 Kobani protests. Govt continued operations targeting Islamic State (ISIS), as police throughout month detained over 180 individuals for their alleged links to ISIS; notably, police operation in Şanlıurfa city 12 Jan apprehended ISIS member who was allegedly involved in ISIS terrorist attacks in Turkey in 2015 (Suruç) and 2016 (Sultanahmet).

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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

Turkey Flexes Its Foreign Policy Muscles

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.

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.

Turkey Wades into Libya’s Troubled Waters

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.

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Our People

Alçay Akay

Office Manager, Turkey

Nigar Göksel

Project Director, Turkey

Berkay Mandıracı

Analyst, Turkey