The following is an excerpt from the interview: There were meetings arranged by one of the leading institutions on conflict resolution, the Democratic Progress Institute (DPI), in countries such as the Republic of South Africa, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Turkey, some of which you attended. Regarding the reconciliation process from the perspective of conflict resolution, what are the similarities and differences between the Kurdish question and other examples around the world?
Actually, every conflict is unique, and they do not resemble each other much, regarding those involved and their developments. It is important not to forget this fact. The fundamental aim of DPI’s Turkey program was to find an answer to the question of how to prepare NGOs, politicians and media for the reconciliation process. The aim of these meetings, which included foreign participants as well, was to bring Turks involved with the reconciliation process together with the foreign ones, in order to contribute by exchanging ideas.
In this context, committees consisting of 15 to 20 people, including MPs, NGO representatives, and journalists attended the meetings held in England, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, and Germany. The Kurdish question and the reconciliation process was not a subject of these meetings. Instead, the goal was to learn from the experience of the country that hosted the meeting.
For example, in Ireland we had the chance hear about the experiences of participants in the Good Friday Agreement, which was signed between Northern Ireland, Ireland, and England in 1998, a delegate of Tony Blair, Jonathan Powell, Ireland’s president at that time, Bertie Ahern, Sinn Fein’s leader Gerry Adams and some people from the Irish Republican Army (IRA). During the visit to South Africa, we came together with the former apartheid administration and Mandela’s close working friends to learn from their experiences. Later we were in Germany in the context of central-local administration relationships and consolidating local administrations.
In the meetings, we observed that MPs were having a hard time asking questions when all of the MPs of other parties were present. Because of this situation, we arranged separate meetings for HDP, Republican People’s Party (CHP) and AK Party MPs. In the following months, meetings are planned to be held in the Philippines, Colombia and Sri Lanka in order to learn from their experiences as well.