Turkey’s location between Europe and Asia presents many security challenges. To Turkey’s north and west are the Black and Mediterranean seas, two large bodies of water that require a navy to defend. Across these seas lay two historical rivals, Russia and Greece, as well as the rest of Eastern Europe, where the Ottomans fought for control against the Habsburgs. To its east lies Iran, another major Ottoman adversary. And to its south is Syria, where a civil war has raged for the past seven years and shows no signs of ending.
But Turkey also has many internal security concerns. The country has dealt with Kurdish resistance in one form or another throughout its history, and after a military coup in 1980, that resistance turned into organized, armed opposition seeking independence for Kurdish-dominated territories in the southeast. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, has been fighting a bloody conflict in the country ever since – a conflict that has left 40,000 p