Turkey has ‘a Kurdish issue costing billions of dollars’
ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
AA PhotoTurkey still has a Kurdish issue, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said on April 1, apparently contradicting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent claim that Turkey no longer has a Kurdish problem, only a terrorism problem.
“Around 40,000 people have lost their lives due to this problem. The same problem also cost the country more than $300 billion, even exceeding $500 billion considering indirect losses. We do not want to lose lives or money anymore. We want to invest this money in our education system and boosting our infrastructure,” Şimşek said, speaking in his opening speech at the Turkish-Arabic Economy Forum.
Kurdish peace process ‘critical’
The government’s current Kurdish peace process is critical to this end, he added.
“This is a huge step. The process may be successful in the upcoming period,” he said, adding that Turkey’s GDP would increase by 1 percent annually if the process comes to a positive conclusion.
Şimşek, a former Merril Lynch banker of Kurdish origin, also said Turkey aims to reach the best global governance standards, regardless of whether or not it becomes an EU member.
“We have not reached our targets in good governance and democratic standards yet, but we are determined to do so. We’ll do whatever it takes to become an EU member. Turkey will be like Norway or Switzerland, even if it does not enter the EU,” he said.