By Hans Mathias Moeller
The following blog post is an excerpt from our upcoming special report, G20 Leaders’ Summit 2015: Assessment of the Physical Threat Environment. This report will examine the risks from political violence, social unrest, terrorism, and natural hazards to the Summit.
Every year, the Group of Twenty (G20) – consisting of 19 countries and the European Union – hosts a series of meetings dubbed the G20 Leaders’ Summit to discuss international economic cooperation. Finance ministers, central bank governors, and other officials typically attend the G20 Leaders’ Summit. The event is supported by the United Nations, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization, among other groups.
This year, the G20 Leader’ Summit will be held in Antalya, Turkey from November 15-16. It is scheduled during a time of increased political instability and an overarching threat of political violence and terrorism in Turkey. This could pose a security risk to all of those attending the Summit or traveling/located in the surrounding area.
After analyzing the physical threat landscape, we have assessed that political violence and social unrest will pose the biggest threats to the Antalya Summit, with both having a medium to high likelihood of occurring. Other threats, such as terrorism, kidnapping, and natural disasters, pose a lower risk to the Summit itself, although if these actions occur in other parts of Turkey, they could inadvertently impact the Summit.
We asked our analysts to provide a brief assessment of the physical threat environment for the Summit. Here’s what they had to say.
Assessment: Currently, Turkey’s political conflict stems from the outcome of the June 7 Parliamentary election, when the pro-Kurdish political party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), gained 13.1 percent of the Parliamentary vote over the ruling party at the time, the Justice and Development Party (AKP). This gave the Kurdish minority an unprecedented voice in the Parliament for the first time.
As a result, Turkey’s president called for a new Parliamentary election to be held on November 1. If the HDP fails to gain back the votes it won in the June 7 election, there is in increased risk for political violence. On the other hand, if the HDP increases its Parliamentary representation, it could lead to a violent nationalist backlash targeting the Kurdish community.
If either of these situations occurs, the impact could be a destabilization of Turkey’s security environment.
- Monitor security developments in the post-election period, including preliminary reports by election observation missions.
- Be cautious of potential political gatherings in the post-election period, particularly around government buildings and political party offices.
Assessment: While there are currently no public references to planned protests at the G20 Leaders’ Summit, protesters have historically targeted these events. The Summits provide an opportunity for social movements to capitalize on the global media presence, and bring attention to a variety of national and global grievances.
- Expect significant disruption and delays due to heightened security measures, including checkpoints, spot-checks, road closures, and diversions.
- Identify nearby businesses and government buildings that could attract protestors, including embassies, consulates, and financial organizations.
Assessment: While the G20 Leaders’ Summit may not be a direct target for terrorism, there are three foreign terrorist organizations designated by the U.S. State Department that have the motivation to launch attacks in Turkey. If any of these groups attack, Turkey’s security situation will quickly deteriorate.
- Exercise increased vigilance if traveling outside Antalya, particularly around potential insurgent and terrorist targets.
- Maintain awareness around curfews Turkish authorities may put in place, as well as the possibility of them declaring a state of emergency should there be a credible risk of terrorist attacks. Carry identification papers in the event the authorities introduce security checkpoints.
Assessment: Although the likelihood of kidnappings in the city of Antalya and the Antalya province of Turkey is low, visitors should understand the level and risk of being in a country with a high rate of kidnappings. In the past year, there have been a significant number of kidnapping incidents to finance terrorist operations, propaganda campaigns, and kidnap-for-ransom schemes.
- Avoid Southeastern Anatolia and parts of the Eastern Anatolia region.
- Consider engaging a response company that specializes in kidnappings and that has the capability to react immediately to an incident.
Assessment: Unexpected natural disasters could occur in the Antalya Province and could disrupt travel routes, cause power outages, and interrupt telecommunications networks before and during the Summit. Earthquakes, flooding, and landslides have been the most common major natural disasters in Turkey, with earthquakes causing the highest number of mortality and economic losses in the country.
- Monitor the Turkish State Meteorological Service for up-to-date weather information and weather watches and warnings.
- Familiarize yourself with any emergency and evacuation plans and the location of shelters in the area.
Always maintain situational awareness when visiting an area experiencing instability. While there will be heightened security measures in the Antalya region, it does not guarantee protection from political violence, social unrest, terrorism, and kidnappings. Additionally, the weather is unpredictable, and a natural disaster can occur at any time. Staying up-to-date on current events and weather patterns in the area is the key to protecting your executives and employees.
Contact us for more information on deep-dive assessments performed by our Special Investigations Unit.