Now, the future of political liberty in Turkey. Are you optimistic? And what’s the path back?
ACEMOGLU: Well, I don’t think it’s easy to be optimistic. I tried to be optimistic, but Turkey is going through a really, really bad time.
The new presidency with executive powers and no checks and balances is terrible. Turkey has become much, much more polarized over the last 15 years. All of the independent agencies, judiciary institutions have completely collapsed. There is not even a modicum of judicial independence in Turkey. If you can look at the military period and you can say the courts were not independent of the military at the time, that’s true, but the extent to which that could happen is not comparable to today.
But on the other hand, when the West, especially the Europeans, look at Turkey, they misinterpret it. They misinterpreted it in the 2000s, thinking, well, Erdogan was a force for democracy. By the time he became the darling of some European media outlets, he was already undermining all Turkish institutions.
But they are also misjudging the situation in Turkey, thinking that he’s an absolute dictator. What really distinguishes Erdogan is his weakness as well as his strength. And he really depends on some sort of public opinion and enough support from the public to be able to do it. Many of the worst economic policies in Turkey are attempts to get that, and some of the very bad foreign policies are attempts to get that support.
So what we have seen in the latest municipal elections this summer was exactly that. Erdogan did not have the power to stop a huge electoral backlash that happened against him. So that says that the way out is possible for Turkey, but it’s going to be a very slow way out. And the fact that the opposition itself is problematic, divided, doesn’t have a clear ideology of building Turkish democracy — I think all of these make the endgame really, really hard and treacherous in Turkey.
COWEN: The PKK — are they terrorists? And should America be supporting them?
ACEMOGLU: Well, PKK are, of course, terrorists. There is no doubt about that. The YPG’s relationship with the PKK — that’s much more complex, but it is an arms-length relationship, and they are not independent of the PKK. But the situation, of course, in Syria is much more complicated. First of all, the US, for a variety of reasons, made the choice of working with YPG, and going back on it is costly as a signal to US’s allies. And the alternative is that creating a vacuum there is not going to help anybody.
I think the biggest threats that we are facing right now are Islamic State terrorists getting free or getting a toehold in that area, or the Syrian and the Russian army now completely controlling that strip, or at least much of that strip. I think none of those are good for the future of the Middle East, and they’re not really good for the security of the West, especially there, again, if the Islamic State comes back. So I think the current situation before the Turkish offensive had a lot of problems, but where we are heading right now is even worse.

次に、トルコの政治的自由の未来についてですが、貴兄は楽観的ですか? どのように元に戻れるでしょうか?
PKKについてですが、彼らはテロリストなのでしょうか? 米国は彼らを支援すべきでしょうか?

*1:cf. ここ