Tuesday Sep 18, 201203:04 PM GMT
‘Turkey faces mounting internal struggle’
Tue Sep 18, 2012 3:2PM
Interview with Edward Peck, former US Chief of Mission in Iraq, from Washington
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What we see now is an interreligious struggle between the Shia, Sunni and offshoots of the Shia religion...How the government deals with that is going to be interesting to watch. It’s not going to be easy to solve the problem.”

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At least seven soldiers have been killed and 56 others injured in an attack by members of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Turkey.


The attack comes after 28 members of the PKK were killed in clashes with Turkish army in the southeastern province of Hakkari over the past four days.

PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s. The conflict has left tens of thousands of people dead.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Edward Peck, former US Chief of Mission in Iraq, from Washington, to further discuss the issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Let’s look at the situation happening inside of Turkey itself. Now we have witnessed several demonstrations against the Turkish government’s involvement in a situation in Syria. How likely is Ankara’s involvement in Syria to backfire on Turkey itself?

Peck: That’s the kind of question that I’m quite sure that the Turks are thinking about even harder than you and I are. You know, they have their own internal problems of which you’re well aware. They’ve had difficulties with their own Turkish population for a long time, as well as with the Kurdish people in Iraq, in Syria and in Iran.

What we see now is an interreligious struggle between the Shia, Sunni and offshoots of the Shia religion because a lot of people in the area who have been troubled are not necessarily in favor of housing 80,000 Alawaites, who they see as posing a potential threat to Turkey’s stability.

How the government deals with that is going to be interesting to watch. It’s not going to be easy to solve the problem.

Press TV: What do you think, Mr. Peck, as far as the Turkish people, now looking at them, if they continue to put pressure, and the pressure increases on the Turkish government, are we likely to see a change in the way Erdogan is dealing with his foreign policy? Or, is it quite unlikely; and perhaps we’ll be seeing the start of a beginning of a new Turkish government or movement to change the Turkish government, that’s there now?

Peck: Gosh, that’s a tough one.

You know, the foreign policy of Turkey has taken so many changes over the last couple of years in its relations with Israel, in its relations with Syria, in its relations with other countries in the region because some of Turkey’s interests, some of Turkey’s objectives, no surprise there, are not exactly the same as the interests and objectives as some of its neighbors.

I would guess that, yes, Mr. Erdogan is going to have to make some adjustments but it is difficult to imagine right now what they might be. I guess a lot of it depends on what happens in Syria over the next couple of months.

Should the situation there be resolved into some relative calm, then the refugees can go back -- but to what kind of a country? That’s something that I’m sure Mr. Erdogan and his associates are thinking about and watching very carefully.

GMA/PKH
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