DPI held an in-person Peace Table entitled “Dividends of Peace from a Regional Perspective” in Van from July 29 to July 31. This was the third meeting of our series entitled “Mapping Dividends of Peace in Turkey” which aims to identify dividends of peace as well as the role that the business community can play as part of possible conflict resolution efforts in Turkey. The event was organised in collaboration with the Diyarbakir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DTSO) and Van Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VANTSO).
Our keynote speaker, Derek Mooney, is a former Irish government advisor who now uses his expertise in communications to consult for various political campaigns. In his speech, he focused on the damaging effects that the conflict has had for businesses on both sides of the border and how arguments centred on the costs of violence should be used to support the resolution of other conflicts. He highlighted two ways which Northern Irish businesses supported the peace process. On a macro level, individuals, organisations and large businesses undertook specific initiatives to actively support the peace process. On a micro level, numerous business owners assisted daily in ensuring a certain level of normality for the community. In these ways, he argued the economic impacts of peace should be a focal point in garnering support for peace from the public, especially highlighting the positive impacts businesses can bring to peace efforts.
The discussions turned to focus on the possible role that business communities in Turkey can play to encourage conflict resolution efforts and the economic benefits that a peace process would bring to the region. He argued that an effective government and legal system were necessary to harness economic growth, citing Turkey and Northern Ireland as examples of where this relationship has been present. During times of peace, both countries have experienced positive economic growth; however, when conflict has reignited, these effects have been reversed. This led the speaker to concentrate on how to communicate the dividends of peace to a larger audience.
This Peace Table forms part of a larger series of activities planned in the context of the project titled Voicing Peace and Fostering Inclusivity in Turkey, supported by the Irish, Norwegian, and Swiss governments.