Özgür Sevgi Göral and Murat Çelikkan from the Truth Justice Memory Center delivered a presentation on 10 July 2013 to the Turkish Grand National Assembly’s Research Commission Established to Research Paths to Social Peace and Evaluate the Resolution Process.
In order to provide support in the Turkish Grand National Assembly for the solution process, the Research Commission Established to Research Paths to Social Peace and Evaluate the Resolution Process has been holding meetings with various civil society organizations, academics, journalists, writers, and activists over the past two months. The commission invited the Truth Justice Memory Center to present two reports we prepared on the topic of enforced disappearance as well as to more generally explain mechanisms used in post-conflict societies around the world. Murat Çelikkan and Özgür Sevgi Göral attended the commission’s meeting on 10 July 2013 on behalf of the Truth Justice Memory Center. The commission’s meeting was also attended by Justice and Development Party members of parliament Fatoş Gürkan, Naci Bostancı, Ziver Özdemir, İdris Şahin, Süleyman Hamzaoğulları, and Abdulkerim Gök, as well as Peace and Democracy Party members of parliament Hüsamettin Zenderlioğlu, Sebahat Tuncel, Ertuğrul Kürkçü, and Erol Dora.
During the commission’s meeting, Murat Çelikkan used examples from around the world to explain what sorts of mechanisms should be contained within efforts to confront the past, as well as how methods that emerge from perspectives on transitional justice can create a collective memory and common language. He also highlighted the importance of criminal trials and explained the problems generated by the use of a shield of impunity to protect perpetrators in Turkey. He shared examples of how state officials in Turkey take refuge in this ‘shield of impunity’ for the crimes they committed, based on examinations of 227 criminal cases.
Özgür Sevgi Göral used the report “Unspoken Truths: Enforced Disappearances” to discuss the findings of our field research in Şırnak as well as to stress the importance of circulating the testimonies of the relatives of the disappeared. She emphasized the importance of truth commissions, apology, and sites of memory, as well as reparative justice mechanisms like compensation and reparations. Following a question and answer section, the meeting came to an end.