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PKK conflict to hurt Turkey economy: Analyst

This file photo shows a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group.

Press TV has conducted an interview with William Jones, member of the Executive Intelligence Review in Leesburg, Virginia, about the issue of the conflict between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Turkish government.


What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.


Press TV: What are the chances of another ceasefire between the Turks and the Kurds?

Jones: It seems a bit doubtful here. I am sure there are divided opinion within the Kurdish side but the objections that have been raised to a unilateral ceasefire seem to be legitimate since the actions that were taken by Turkey, although fomented allegedly by PKK attacks, were intentioned on the part of the Turkish leadership. Of course as they are going into an election, they are very concerned in diminishing the Kurdish vote, and this is an excellent way to do this by launching an attack against the PKK, maybe even helping to foment Kurdish actions, which will provoke Turkish reaction.

But I think that there are parties within the Kurdish side that are willing to talk. The question is ‘Are the Turks willing to stop the fighting, stop the attacks?’ That really remains the biggest question. I think politically they feel they cannot win anything by that and so it will continue.

Press TV: How will this escalation of violence affect Turkey’s economic status with its tourism sector being impacted as a result?

Jones: It certainly is not going to help them. Everybody is wary of going to Turkey even on a transiting from Ankara. I think the figures are probably very clear that it is going to hit its tourism, but there is a larger game that is being played by Erdogan, who wants to strengthen the role of the presidency in Turkey and to take measures, possibly, to create a greater trend toward Islamization in the secular Turkish society.

People have been concerned about this and the latest elections reflected, of course, the growing influence of the Kurdish population but also dissatisfaction among the Turks with the direction that Erdogan is going, and it seems that he wants to change the facts on the ground by creating turmoil and creating fear of the Kurds within the Turkish population so that they will return to the AKP and allow him to do what he wants to do to create a stronger presidency.

But it is dangerous for Turkey, it is causing a lot of damage, causing economic damage as well, and it is creating a very dangerous situation in the region given that the Kurdish forces are also playing a major role in moving against ISIL, against Daesh, and the Turkish attacks against the PKK and against Kurdish forces in general are really undermining their ability to fight against what is the real threat in the region, which is coming from ISIL.

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