Not all doom and gloom in 2017’s 'typically eventful' Turkey - report
Turkey has had a “typically eventful year” in 2017, according to an end-of year report by the London-based think-tank, the Centre for Turkey Studies (CEFTUS). But not all the news from the country was bad.
“Turkey has seen a marked improvement in its security situation over the last 12 months,” the report heralded. “In 2016, Turkey’s major cities were hit by more than twenty bomb blasts, killing 225 people and seriously wounding hundreds more. In contrast, 2017 saw almost no major terrorist incident.”
However, it said, Turkey continues to face an unprecedented level of possible security threats, especially from the Islamic State (ISIS) and the Kurdish insurgent Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The year saw Turkey announce the successful completion of Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria, sending more troops into the country in October, while signalling that it would take over the Kurdish-controlled enclave of Afrin.
The nation of 80 million also saw a growing alliance with Iran and Russia, whom circumstances in the region brought together.
However, “Turkey–U.S. relations have sunk to their lowest point in recent history amid a myriad of disputes that cannot be easily resolved,” CEFTUS said, while “European governments, often with their own local political constituencies in mind, have taken an increasingly strong position on Turkey and its membership of the EU, with the Turkish government responding in kind.”
Domestically, a referendum was held under “restrictive conditions” and sent Turkey on the road towards a presidential system, while there was “a difficult political environment for opposition groups in the country,” especially Kurdish-movement ones.