On 15 July 2016, a diverse group of women met in Ankara for Democratic Progress Institute’s (DPI) roundtable meeting exploring women’s participation in peace and resolution processes. Despite the extraordinary circumstances of that time, participants were unanimous in their desire to continue with the meeting, which proceeded as planned. Speaking at the time, the women participants said, “The best answer to the coup attempt is to continue to discuss peace.”
Four years on from that day, on 15 July 2020, DPI once again brought together a diverse group of women from across Turkey’s many constituencies and bridging political divides to participate in a planned online roundtable meeting discussing the role of women in conflict resolution. Participants included elected representatives and members of political parties, heads and representatives of human rights organisations and think tanks, lawyers, businesswomen, media professionals and academics. The overall aim of the roundtable was to provide a much-needed space for a diverse group of Turkish women to engage with and reflect upon the role of women in conflict resolution processes through exposure to examples and experiences of internationally renowned women working in the field.
We were delighted to be joined by two speakers who both shared their own experiences of involvement and inclusion of women in peace processes. Rosa Emilia Salamanca, Executive Director of Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica (CIASE) discussed her role in strengthening the participation of women in the Colombian peace process, from grassroots and civil society initiatives through to formal negotiation processes. Katia Papagianni, Director – Mediation Support and Policy, HD Centre shared with participants her knowledge and expertise of the motivating factors and practices of women contributing to dialogue and resolution processes during the most challenging times.
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 and Irish governments.