DPI held an online roundtable meeting on 27 April entitled ‘Current Situation in Turkey: Government Perspective and Future Vision’. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DPI has re-planned its forthcoming events to take place using online platforms until further notice in order to continue to fulfil its project’s aims and objectives through continued dialogue during these challenging times. This roundtable was the first in our series of online meetings with political parties in Turkey, which starting with The Justice and Democracy Party (AK Party) include The Republican People’s Party (CHP), The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), The Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA Party), The Future Party and Felicity Party.
This first online roundtable meeting with Cevdet Yılmaz, MP, Deputy Chair of AK Party, responsible for Foreign Affairs and former Minister, gave an overview of the recent developments in Turkey and of the government’s policies taken to address COVID-19. The speaker discussed the strategy of the government in handling the pandemic through limited curfews rather than imposing a nation-wide lockdown.
Yılmaz also mentioned the great efforts of the government in trying to prevent the effects of the pandemic on the economy. He suggested that the Turkish government is dedicated to supporting its most vulnerable citizens, expressed optimism with regards to the slowing spread of the virus in Turkey and implied that the restrictions should not hinder democracy in mid-to long term.
This meeting brought together, through an online platform, a diverse group of prominent participants from Turkey and abroad, including events, who have expressed their readiness to engage in an open, frank, respectful and productive conversation with their counterparts across political and other divides, thus ensuring a successful dialogue. We were also delighted to be joined, virtually, by representatives of the European Union, the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as international experts from amongst DPI’s Board Members and Council of Expert members.
DPI will continue our series of online meetings with other leaders of political parties in Turkey to keep dialogue alive and provide a platform to discuss the democratisation, normalisation and the possible solution to the ongoing conflict during the course of this challenging and unprecedented time.
This 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.