Discovering the Legal Opportunities and Obstacles on the Road to Peace.

The ongoing conflict between the Turkish Security Forces and the PKK has been a pressing issue in Turkey for around forty years. Although the previous peace process failed in 2015, a new solution is needed more than ever as Turkey struggles with grave problems in terms of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the economy. The Kurdish Question has strong links with these problems and tackling it will contribute to solving these serious problems. Discovering legal opportunities and obstacles to a new solution process is essential in this regard. This report, written by Zeynep Ardıç, lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Istanbul Medeniyet University, aims to find the legal opportunities and obstacles to a future peace process by analysing the legal system in Turkey. The most critical legal obstacle to a new peace process is the continuing decline in the rule of law. Turkey has certain problems concerning the rule of law and they need to be addressed to ensure the success of a new solution process. In order to strengthen the rule of law the independence of the judiciary must be ensured, due process must be de-politicised, the Turkish legislation must be democratised, and fundamental rights and freedoms must be properly implemented. The legal opportunities for a new peace could be the emphasis on democracy and human rights in legislation and a possible constitution-making process. Turkey has been discussing the need for a new constitution for decades and the current government has shown its desire to make a new constitution to mark the onset of the second century of the Republic. The new constitution must be made through an inclusive process where all actors including political parties, experts, civil society organisations and citizens raise their demands and concerns in a safe environment. Discovering these legal obstacles and opportunities will contribute to Turkey’s future peace and resolution process.

This report is part of a larger project developed by DPI, titled ‘Forging Pathways to Peace and Democracy in Turkey’, which are supported by the Norwegian, Swiss and Irish governments.