DPI Roundtable: ‘The Role of Women in Conflict Resolution: Reflections on the Turkish Experience’, 18 December in Istanbul

On 18 December 2018, DPI held a roundtable meeting on ‘The role of Women in Conflict Resolution: Reflecting on the Turkish experience’ as part of DPI’s conflict resolution series focused on women’s contributions to sustaining dialogue and maintaining efforts to build peace, even in the most challenging times. The meeting was attended by a diverse female group of political and civil society actors from different regions and representing the broad spectrum of different political affiliations in Turkey including elected representatives and members of political parties, heads and representatives of human rights organisations, lawyers, businesswomen, media professionals and academics. While previous DPI meetings on this topic have focused on the sharing of international experiences which can provide lessons and insights of relevance to Turkey, this roundtable for the first time provided participants with a forum to discuss women’s role in conflict resolution in direct relation to the situation in Turkey. Participants reflected on Turkish women’s past contributions to the now ‘parked’ resolution process and broader democratisation and peacebuilding processes, as well as the challenges and obstacles faced, how they have been addressed and what more could have been done. Participants also considered how lessons learnt from past experiences can be applied when evaluating the current situation in the country and considering what can be done now to support continuing dialogue and promote conflict resolution and democratisation in Turkey. The meeting provided a valuable platform for this group of diverse, committed and influential women to engage in an open and frank discussion about past experiences and current possibilities and to explore commonalities as the basis for identifying concrete opportunities to work together to strengthen women’s role in conflict resolution in Turkey. This roundtable was part of a series of activities planned in the context of the project: ‘Supporting inclusive dialogue at a challenging time in Turkey’, supported by the EU and the Irish, Netherlands and Norwegian governments.