Within the scope of this project, we carry out capacity building and research activities for civil society in Turkey to take a more active role in the efforts to initiate and pursue a new peace process and thus contribute to the field of peace advocacy.
Project duration: 01.01.2020 – 31.12.2024
Supported by: Olof Palme International Center
Partner: Swedish Social Democratic Youth League (SSU)
Working area: Peace
With this project, we aim to increase the capacity of civil society in Turkey to contribute to peace advocacy and a possible new peace process. In line with this general objective, the project aims to increase the production of knowledge on topics that are important in preparing the ground for a new peace process, to strengthen cooperation between institutions and to encourage young people to engage with the field of peace.
In 2013, negotiations were taken up to end almost 40 years of armed conflict and find a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish issue. This so-called “Solution Process” eventually collapsed in 2015. During the two-year period between 2013-2015, we witnessed an environment in which different social groups could discuss the Kurdish issue and its political solution as a result of partial policy changes. Following the collapse of the process, the armed clashes intensified and pushed the debate about the Kurdish issue away from the notions of peace and resolution back to the prior of paradigm of war and terror. After the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016, and the subsequent implementation of a state of emergency regime, fundamental human rights and freedoms were increasingly violated, while civic spaces were palpably curtailed and nationalist and militarist rhetoric governed public life. The civil society organizations, whose involvement in the solution process has already been very limited as recent studies show, had to continue their work under much more difficult conditions after the breakdown of the process. All these difficult and challenging developments compelled us to take even more resolute action to make sure that political peace is being discussed in the public.
Within the scope of this project, we are going to commission a series of analysis reports that deal with important dimensions of the Kurdish issue such as decentralization, the search for truth, and regional dynamics, adopting a comparative perspective to view the Kurdish issue in relation to other peace processes around the world. In addition, we are planning to organize various workshops and trainings to strengthen the cooperation between civil society organizations working in the field of peace and to make peace advocacy more visible. Within the scope of the project, we will also conduct a number of workshops, trainings and study visits with young people who want to take greater action in the field of peace advocacy and contribute to the field of peace activism.
- Cuma Çiçek, Power-sharing and Decentralization in the Context of the Kurdish Issue and Political Peace (Turkish, English, Kurdish)
- Nesrin Uçarlar, A Peaceful Search for Truth in Turkey: Confronting Racism (Turkish, English, Kurdish)
- Yasin Sunca, The Regional Kurdish Question in a Global World: Mentalities, Policies and Geopolitical Dynamics (Turkish, English, Kurdish)
- Onur Bakıner, Official Truth-Finding Without Transitional Justice: Commissions of Inquiry in Turkey (Turkish, English, Kurdish)
- From Transitional to Performative Justice, Audra Mitchell (2010) (Turkish translation)
- The ‘Others’ in Peace Talks: Representation of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ in the Turkish-Cypriot and Greek-Cypriot Press, Christophoros Christophorou and Sanem Şahin (2018) (Turkish translation)
- From Transitional to Performative Justice: Peace Activism in the Aftermath of Communal Violence, Birgit Bräuchler (2019) (Turkish translation)
- Transforming Restorative Justice for Transitional Settings, Kerry Clamp (2019) (Turkish translation)
- The Little Book of Restorative Justice, Howard Zehr (2022) (Turkish translation)
- Confronting Racism – Betsy Penso, Nesrin Uçarlar, Yıldız Önen – 9 March 2022
- The Role of Parliament in Peacebuilding – Nisan Alıcı, Onur Bakıner, Yeşim Yaprak Yıldız – 30 March 2022
- Perspectives on Restorative Justice – Aslı Odman, Duygu Dağ, Murat Deha Boduroğlu – 27 April 2022
- Memory and Space in Conflictual and Divided Cities – Dilan Kaya, Nihal Soğancı – 21 June 2022
- Perception of the Past and Imagination of the Future Among Turkey’s Youth – Cihan Erdal, Derya Fırat, Leyla Neyzi – 30 November 2022
Diyarbakır Suriçi (walled city) and Nicosia are two cities that have been physically and discursively divided with mechanisms of repression and violence. As Hafiza Merkesi and Home for Cooperation, we organized two workshops during October and November of 2022 in order to focus on how young people experienced spatial memory in these cities that have experienced conflict and division. Our video titled Spatial Memory of Divided Cities in Conflict: Diyarbakir and Nicosia tells the story of these workshops, which include memory tours in both cities and subsequent collage workshops.
Meetings and workshops
- Peace and Ecology Meeting (with Zozan Pehlivan, Agit Özdemir, and environmental activists), 31 May 2021
- Young Peace Activists Meeting (in cooperation with Cyprus Dialogue Forum, participants included young activists from Turkey, Cyprus, and Sweden), 16 June 2021
- Cuma Çiçek, Power-Sharing and Decentralization in the Context of the Kurdish Issue and Political Peace report launch (with Cuma Çiçek, Elise Massicard, Ulaş Bayraktar), 23 June 2021.
- Nesrin Uçarlar, A Peaceful Search for Truth in Turkey: Confronting Racism report launch (with Nesrin Uçarlar, Elizabeth Oglesby, Yeşim Yaprak Yıldız), 30 June 2021
- Retributive and restorative justices for violations of the right to life of children, workshop, Diyarbakır, 13-14 May 2022
- Yasin Sunca, Regional Kurdish Question in a Global World report launch (with Yasin Sunca, Güney Yıldız, Arzu Yılmaz), 24 May 2022
- Memory Walk and Collage Workshop, Diyarbakır, 29-30 October 2022
- Memory Walk and Collage Workshop, Nicosia, 5-6 November 2022
- Diyarbakır and Nicosia: Representation and memory of conflict and division, Online Workshop with participants, 16 November 2022
- Memorializing Conflict-Related Violations of Children and Youth Rights, Online Workshop, 22 December 2022
- Cyprus (24-27 October 2021): Organized in cooperation with the Cyprus Dialogue Forum. The purpose of the visit was to bring together young activists from Turkey, the TRNC, and the Republic of Cyprus to discuss methods, challenges, and strategies in peace work in Turkey and Cyprus. The meeting took place at the Home for Cooperation in the buffer zone of Nicosia. A field trip to the Maraş region took place on the last day of the visit.
- Diyarbakır (19-22 December 2021): The purpose of the visit was to meet with local rights organizations and activists, learn about their work and discuss possible collaborations. During the visit, we met with institutions working on human rights, ecology, peace, children’s rights, and women’s rights.
- Diyarbakır (11-14 May 2022): The purpose of the visit was to visit local CSOs and activists, learn about their work, and share ideas on the new research designed by Hafıza Merkezi on the 2000s. We met with organizations and actors working in the areas of human rights, peace, children rights and language-culture.
- Antakya (8-11 September 2022): The purpose of the visit was to visit local CSOs, learn about their work, discuss the cultural legacy and memories of different religious and ethnic groups and meet young activists. We met with ALİKEV and Zenginler Atölyesi in Antakya and we visited the Cooperative and museum in Vakıflı Köyü.
- Hakkari and Van (3-6 December 2022): The purpose of the visit was to meet with local CSOs and lawyers, learn about their work and start fieldwork for the new research designed by Hafıza Merkezi on the 2000s. We discussed the data and documentation attempts, experiences and memories pertaining to these years, as well as possilbe collaborations.
* Please send any questions regarding the project to email@example.com.