DPI Online Roundtable ‘Opposition’s Perspective on the peace process and the political, social and economic effects of COVID-19 in Turkey’ with Ahmet Davutoğlu, President of Future Party (FP)

As a former Prime Minister and key figure in Turkey’s peace process, Ahmet Davutoğlu’s formation of a new political party – The Future Party – was keenly awaited at the end of 2019. As part of its series of online meetings with political parties in Turkey, on 6 July , DPI hosted Mr Davutoğlu and gained valuable insight into this new opposition party’s perspective on the political, social and economic effects of COVID-19 in Turkey, with a particular focus on prospects for peace and democratisation in the country.

The roundtable brought together a diverse group of participants, including academics, civil society leaders, journalists, lawyers, politicians, members of Wise Persons Committee (WPC), as well our funders, representatives from the European Union, Embassies in Ankara and other peace building organisations. Participants were composed of those who had attended DPI activities previously, allowing for a continuation of knowledge and experiences from past meetings to inform the important discussion surrounding the current situation in Turkey today, with a particular focus on prospects for peace and democratisation and the future of Turkey.

Mr Davutoğlu addressed a range of topics in his presentation, including highlighting both the international and Turkish challenges that will be faced in the current climate, particularly in the context of Covid-19. On the international scale, the speaker raised the possibility of a shift in the concept of security, where individual and bio-security could overtake national security in importance, whilst also discussing the need for a redefinition and restructuring of democracy which moves away from autocracy to find a new balance between freedom and security with a clear differentiation between trust and control, state authority and public order.

In discussing the way forward for Turkey, Mr Davutoğlu gave an insight into the way the Future Party will approach the challenges facing the country, particularly with regard to peace and democratisation issues. Mr Davutoğlu highlighted the Future Party’s focus on being an inclusive political party in a political environment they see as being increasingly dominated by exclusivity. In establishing a political party based on values belonging to the whole of humanity, Mr Davutoğlu spoke of the possible opportunity to capitalise on the unifying spirit Covid-19 has triggered.

The online roundtables form part of a larger series of activities in the context of the project ‘Supporting inclusive dialogue at a challenging time in Turkey’, supported by the EU and the Norwegian and Irish governments.