By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 8, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
In recent weeks, Turkey has been wracked by an escalation in Kurdish-related violence. Not only could the upsurge have been prevented but there are fears that the worst may yet be to come. The fear is that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may order an even harsher crackdown over the weeks ahead and that, with its rural units depleted by deployments to Iraq and Syria, the PKK may increasingly respond by staging attacks, including more suicide car bombings, in the cities.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 8, no. 11 of the Turkey Analyst)
On June 2, 2015, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called for the editor of Turkey’s oldest newspaper to be sentenced to life in prison after the daily published evidence apparently showing that the Turkish government had lied about sending weapons to extremist groups in Syria.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 8, no. 4 of the Turkey Analyst)
On the night of February 21-22, 2015, amid fears that it was in danger of being overrun by the ISIS, the Turkish military staged a cross-border rescue operation to evacuate the garrison that had been guarding the tomb of Süleyman Shah in northern Syria. In a move redolent with symbolism for the collapse of Ankara’s dream of transforming the Middle East into a sphere of neo-Ottoman Turkish influence, Turkish troops brought the three coffins in the tomb back to Turkey and detonated explosives to destroy the mausoleum in which they had been housed.
By Halil Gürhanlı (vol. 7, no. 23 of the Turkey Analyst)
The Turkish government continues to refuse to grant Syrians who have taken shelter in Turkey refugee status in line with international principles. The Temporary Protection Directive, adopted on October 22, 2014, provides a comparatively more solid legal status for ‘temporarily protected’ Syrians, but it still falls short of granting the refugees their rights in legal terms. The new legislation effectively accords unlimited freedom to the government agencies to decide over the lives and future of two million Syrian refugees. This effectively means that the refugees will have to dance to the Turkish government’s tune if they wish to remain at a relatively safe distance from the horrors of civil war.
By Micha’el Tanchum (vol. 7, no. 19 of the Turkey Analyst)
On October 20, Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu announced that “Peshmerga” fighters from the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) are going to be allowed to transit Turkish territory to reinforce the beleaguered Kurdish forces of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) defending the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS.) The Turkish government had previously turned down requests for it to open a land corridor. Turkey’s policy u-turn means that it now has a unique opportunity to rehabilitate its failed Kurdish policy and arrive at a grand bargain to secure its national interests along its borders with Syria and Iraq. To create a more amenable constellation of Kurdish political allies, the Turkish government will need to offer a meaningful accommodation of Kurdish demands within Turkey.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.