Unrest in Turkey

January 29, 2016 • Volume 26, Issue 5
Can the longtime U.S. ally be trusted?
By Brian Beary


A funeral procession for two suspected militants killed in a police raid (AFP/Getty Images/Ozan Kose)
A funeral procession for two suspected militants killed in a police raid in December wends through Istanbul's Gazi district, a stronghold for supporters of Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Turkey faces violence from anti-government insurgents such as the PKK, as well as from Islamic State terrorists. (AFP/Getty Images/Ozan Kose)

Located at the crossroads of Europe and the strife-torn Middle East, Turkey is crucial in the West's struggle against Islamist extremism. Yet, foreign policy experts worry that Turkey's allegiance to democratic values has weakened under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and that domestic unrest could jeopardize Turkey's effectiveness in the fight against terrorism. Erdogan's conservative AKP Party is battling separatist Kurds inside Turkey and in neighboring Iraq and Syria, where the Kurds have been an important U.S. ally in the fight against the Islamic State. The controversial Erdogan has violently suppressed dissidents and journalists, been accused of corruption and supported stricter adherence to Islam. The 28-nation European Union (EU), meanwhile, has been inundated by Syrian war refugees and wants Turkey to prevent the more than 2 million refugees it is harboring from crossing into the EU. Erdogan hopes Turkey's role in the refugee crisis will bolster the country's longstanding bid to join the EU. But some Western leaders question Turkey's readiness for membership.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
May 14, 2021  Domestic Terrorism
Apr. 09, 2021  Targeted Killings
Apr. 01, 2016  Defeating the Islamic State
Jan. 29, 2016  Unrest in Turkey
Jun. 27, 2014  Assessing the Threat From al Qaeda
Sep. 02, 2011  Remembering 9/11
Sep. 03, 2010  Homegrown Jihadists
Mar. 12, 2010  Prosecuting Terrorists Updated
Nov. 2009  Terrorism and the Internet
Feb. 13, 2009  Homeland Security
Apr. 21, 2006  Port Security
Oct. 14, 2005  Global Jihad
Apr. 02, 2004  Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorism
Feb. 22, 2002  Policing the Borders
Oct. 12, 2001  War on Terrorism
Jul. 21, 1995  Combating Terrorism
Aug. 26, 1988  New Approach to Mideast Terrorism
May 30, 1986  Dealing With Terrorism
Oct. 08, 1982  Prospects for Peace in Northern Ireland
Mar. 27, 1981  Anti-Terrorism: New Priority in Foreign Policy
Dec. 02, 1977  International Terrorism
Jan. 26, 1973  Control of Skyjacking
May 13, 1970  Political Terrorism
Jul. 24, 1952  Red Terrorism in Malaya
Alliances and Security Agreements
Freedom of Information
General International Relations
Global Issues
Middle East Conflicts
Military Bases
Regional Political Affairs: Europe
Regional Political Affairs: Middle East and South Asia
Terrorism and Counterterrorism
War and Conflict