‘Could the Economic Crisis Bring a New Solution Process?’ Voice of America – Mahmut Bozarslan 25.04.2022

At a meeting held in Diyarbakır by the UK-based Democratic Progress Institute (DPI), the economic cost of the conflict –  which has been ongoing in Turkey since the 1980s – was opened for discussion. The necessity of a new solution process was emphasised. Representatives of civil society organisations in Diyarbakır, academics, politicians, journalists, and writers attended the meeting.

 Opening the meeting, DPI’s CEO Kerim Yıldız drew attention to the impact of the business world on the solution processes. Stating that the values created by the business world contribute to the peace processes, Yıldız claimed that the resolution process in 2015 was an important step. Expressing that it is time for politicians to be brave once again, he asserted, “They need to show that a solution process is not only for the Kurds but for the benefit of everyone in Turkey. The window of opportunity has opened again. The time has come to take new steps, and I believe that the business world can not only play a role in peacebuilding but also enable the government to take steps.”

“If there were no conflicts, national income would have increased by 36 per cent”

After the opening speeches, researcher and writer İzzet Akyol presented the DPI report titled “The Cost of Conflict in Turkey and the Profit Share of Peace”. Analysing the economic damage caused by the conflicts in Turkey since 1985, Akyol argued that the disputes affected the economy in different ways. Akyol said, “I calculated the net figure that evaporated from the Turkish economy from 1985 to 2021, at current prices, as 159 billion 638 million dollars. However, when we bring this to today’s prices, it corresponds to 229 billion 342 million dollars. When you adjusted the real effective exchange rate, with the 2022 correction of the dollar, we destroyed around 229 billion dollars.”

What would happen if there was no conflict? According to Akyol, even if the current political environment remained the same, Turkey would have a much larger economy if there was no conflict. In the absence of conflict, Turkey’s national income per capita would be 36 per cent higher.

After the presentation, the participants expressed their views on the report and sought an answer to the question, “Can a new solution process be carried out through the economy?”

“Peace benefits the economy the most”

DTSO President Mehmet Kaya stated that the economic data from the time of the solution process is the best proof for the need of a new solution process. Pointing out that peace would revive the economy, Kaya stated, “During the solution process, only the export figures of our trade volume with the Kurdistan Regional Government were almost 15 billion dollars. This fell to 7 billion dollars until 2 years ago. Our Gross National Product reached a figure exceeding 900 million for the first time. After all, peace benefits the economy the most, and the domestic market is reviving. If we create a successful peace process, we will see that everything from unemployment to Turkey’s export figures will increase rapidly. That’s why we persistently believe that a new peace is necessary”.

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