PHOTO: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Last Friday I spoke for 20 minutes with Malaysia’s BFM Radio about the situation in Turkey amid the latest mass killing, a New Year’s Day attack by a lone gunman that killed 39 people in an Istanbul nightclub.

In the first part, I discuss the combination of internal and external factors contributing to the tension and violence, from the decades-long confrontation between the Government and Kurdish groups seeking autonomy, the corrosive effects of the Syrian conflict, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ongoing quest to suppress dissent and expand his power.

Listen to Part 2: Can Erdogan Hold His Grip on Power?


Let’s be clear here. Some of these pressures are self-inflicted. President Erdoğan has chosen and the [Kurdish insurgency] PKK have chosen the path of confrontation. Erdoğan has chosen confrontation with his political opponents.

Far from choosing stability, the key people are willing to risk this kind of threat if they think they can get advantage from it.