Businesses in east, southeast want Kurdish peace bid back
REUTERS photoBusinesspeople in Turkey’s eastern and southeastern provinces are hoping clashes between the security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will come to an end, resulting in an economic boost in the poorest provinces of the country.
“We have seen the benefits of the two-and-a-half-year period of no conflict for the region,” said Ahmet Sayar, the head of the Diyarbakır Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DTSO), referring to a de facto ceasefire between security forces and the PKK, which lasted until after the June 7 general elections that yielded no government.
Sayar is now hopeful for a one-party government after the Nov. 1 re-election, as the Justice and Development Party (AKP) got nearly half the votes and enough seats to form a cabinet.
“Peace is a must to start talking about the economy again in the region,” he said. “We were at a point for a leap forward and the clashes started again. It is important for the region and the country to go back to the pre-June 7 election conditions.”
President Erdoğan signaled in a Nov. 4 address of village heads that the resolution process could restart and gave the process a new name: national unity and fraternity process.
However, Erdoğan and the government are at odds with the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which had an important role in previous mediations between the state and jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. The government blames the party for not taking a strong stance against terrorism.
HDP co-chairman Selahattin Demirtaş said after the elections that the resolution process should not be on the shoulders of the AKP and HDP alone and the main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) should also contribute.
The PKK declared Nov. 5 that it will resume its attacks after its short ceasefire period before the Nov. 1 snap elections, a news agency close to the PKK reported.
İbrahim Çeçen, the Ağrı-born chairman of IC Holding, said Turkey may enter a new four-year period of stability, meaning a new start for the economy.
“I hope that the new government will sustain and bring back peace and confidence in the southeastern and eastern regions, will maintain public order, continue the peace process and thus contribute to a sustainable peace,” Çeçen said.
“Peace in this region means peace in the whole country,” he said.
An end to a political uncertainty between the two elections is important for the business world, said Limak Holding chairman Nihat Özdemir, a leading business figure from Diyarbakır who is involved in large private and public projects, including the huge third airport project in Istanbul.
“Unfortunately, Turkey has lost the year 2015 due to the election debates and uncertainty.”
A noteworthy portion of Limak investments are in the east and southeast, he said, expressing hopes that the resolution process will start again and be finalized.