DPI Online Roundtable: ‘Civil Society Actors in Turkey: Keeping the Dialogue Alive During Challenging Times’

DPI held an online roundtable on 17 April entitled ‘Civil Society Actors in Turkey: Keeping the Dialogue Alive During Challenging Times’. As part of our organisational response to minimise the impact that COVID-19 has on our work, DPI has re-planned its forthcoming events so that they take place online in order to continue fulfilling our project’s aims and objectives.

This online roundtable focused on the role of civil society in dealing with conflict resolution, especially during challenging times, and discussed the role of civil society in Northern Ireland, the ‘parked’ peace process in Turkey, as well as the impact of COVID-19. It follows DPI’s series of events which previously introduced a group of diverse civil society actors in Turkey to the key themes and principles of conflict resolution processes.

The online roundtable brought together leading civil society actors, journalists and academics from Turkey, which included both recurring and new participants. We were also joined by DPI’s Council of Expert and Board members, representatives from the European Union, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ambassador of Ireland to Turkey.

The first session focused on the distinctive and various roles that civil society has played in Northern Ireland at different times. The group listened to an insightful presentation delivered by Pat Hynes, from Glencree Centre for Peace & Reconciliation, Ireland. The speaker highlighted the important role that civil society can play in conflict resolution, including facilitating highly confidential dialogue, mediation and disarmament. The group also participated in an engaging discussion on the impact of COVID-19, as well as Brexit and the implications that it poses to Northern Ireland. Currently, civil society in Northern Ireland continues to work in encouraging dialogue, especially with regards to Brexit.

During the second session, participants discussed the role that civil society presently plays in Turkey, as well as the challenges that it faces and potential openings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The roundtable forms part of a larger 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 Norwegian government.