DPI held an in-person roundtable event entitled ‘Shared Economic Interests as the Base for Peace’ on 21-23 April 2022 in Diyarbakır, in cooperation with Diyarbakır Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DTSO). The event was part of a series of meetings titled ‘Mapping Dividends of Peace in Turkey’. The series aims to address the interconnected relationship between conflict, peace, and the economy, and contribute to the debate on the economic rationale for peace in Turkey and the wider region.
Keynote speakers İzzet Akyol and Ambassador Vegard Ellefsen shared their insights with participants. Akyol discussed the cost of the four decades of conflict for the Turkish economy, stating that the conflict has cost Turkey more than 4 trillion dollars when converted into today’s currency. Akyol highlighted that the conflict has slowed down the growth of the Turkish economy in four main ways: 1) the direct cost of the armed conflict; 2) decrease in investments and productivity losses; 3) curbing foreign direct investments (FDIs); 4) decrease in tourism revenue. Ambassador Ellefsen’s presentation focused on how the economy could be used to convince people for the need of a peace process, especially at a time when economic turmoil is prevalent. During the discussion, participants articulated how the upcoming elections, as well as the current economic situation in Turkey, could be an opportunity to bring the Kurdish issue and possible new resolution process on the political agenda, especially considering Kurdish voters’ unique position as ‘kingmakers.’
This roundtable forms part of a larger series of activities planned in the context of the project: “Forging Pathways to Peace and Democracy in Turkey”, supported by the Irish, Norwegian, and Swiss governments.