From 3 to 6 December, DPI held a comparative study visit entitled ‘Civil Society’s Priorities for Peace: A Lesson Sharing Visit’ in Dublin, Ireland. The visit comprised of academics, members of civil society organisations, journalists, lawyers, former MPs and state servants involved in Turkey’s peace process between 2013-2015. Participants heard invaluable accounts from four speakers regarding the importance of civil society’s inclusion during various stages of the Northern Irish peace process – a comparative study from which lessons can be learned. Recurring themes throughout this event were ‘inclusivity’, ‘perseverance’ and ‘dialogue’; all of which helped build trust, credibility and the ability to find a solution to end conflict. Furthermore, discussions surrounding Turkey’s peace process including its achievements, limitations, role of civil society and broader implications for the field of conflict resolution, took place.
The event highlighted the importance of comparative practise and learning, in particular during challenging times when the peace process is ‘parked’. The Northern Irish case was informative and inspiring – the event illustrated that setbacks are part of the resolution process, which resonated with participants from Turkey. Additionally, it was particularly timely and constructive as the Kurdish issue has begun to resurface within debates in Turkey’s political arena.
As part of the project ‘Supporting inclusive dialogue at a challenging time in Turkey’ & ‘Forging Pathways to Peace and Democracy in Turkey’, the CSV provided an important contribution to DPI’s ongoing work focused on preparing society for any future peace process in Turkey. This project was supported by the Norwegian, Swiss and Irish governments.