Written by Philippe Perchoc,
For the last two decades Turkey has faced a highly destabilised regional environment: to the north with recent conflicts around the Black Sea; to the east with the frozen southern Caucasus conflicts, and United States-led intervention followed by civil war in Iraq; and to the south with the civil war in Syria and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The civil war in Syria has prompted a huge influx of refugees into Turkey. With more than 2.7 million refugees, Turkey is the country with the biggest refugee population in the world. After a brilliant period of growth over the past 15 years, the externally dependent Turkish economy now has external and internal challenges to face, including the recent fall in foreign direct investment, difficulties with refugee integration and higher unemployment.
The leading Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi or AKP), in power since late 2002, faced its first difficulties in the June 2015 general election, in the wake of a struggle to impose control on a highly politicised civil service. After the failed military coup of July 2016, in which the opposition parties mobilised with the AKP to preserve democracy, the government launched a major purge on civil servants affiliated with the Gülen movement, which it blames for the coup. The failed coup has prompted a more rapid rapprochement with Russia and an apparent shift in Turkey’s foreign policy.
In recent years, and especially since July 2016, the relationship between Turkey, a candidate country, and the EU has been challenging, but remains crucial to both sides.
Read the complete briefing on ‘Turkey since the failed July 2016 coup‘.