DPI Roundtable Meeting, ‘Lessons Learned from the WPC Experience: Challenges and Opportunities’, Brussels, 9-12 July 2019

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On 9-12th July 2019, Democratic Progress Institute held a roundtable meeting in Brussels with many former members of Turkey’s Wise Persons’ Committee. Kerim Yildiz, CEO of DPI, opened the meeting and outlined its objectives – to examine the key lessons that could be learnt from the experiences gained as part of the WPC as well as looking ahead to the potential challenges and opportunities for a possible future resumption of the resolution process. Additional discussion focused on the role of the EU in resolution and democratisation processes and participants heard from speaker Mihaela Matei from the European External Action Service on this topic. Discussion – which involved other EU representatives Eva Horelova, Head of Political Section, Delegation of the European Union to Turkey, Ankara, Bernard Brunet, Head of Unit, Relations with Turkey, European Commission and James Rizzo, Policy Officer, Relations with Turkey, European Commission – outlined the multi-tack approach to peace and resolution processes employed by the EU. They highlighted the importance of engaging civil society as well as political actors to ensure inclusive and sustainable outcomes. Looking back at their experiences in the WPC, participants discussed the successes and failures of this previous process. They noted that whilst the attitude of the general public was ripe for peace, the necessary planning and preparation was not in place, meaning the mechanisms required for a successful resolution process were lacking. It was with this insight that they looked ahead noting, in particular, the need for the promotion of peace language – ‘positive language for a positive solution’ – as well as ensuring any future resolution process is an inclusive one that has the complete support of all parties. Participants included intellectuals and public figures from a range of political, professional backgrounds and hailing from, or with knowledge of or connections to, different regions of Turkey. We were also delighted to be joined by Roland Salvisburg, Head of the Peace Policy Bureau for Europe and Asia, Mediation and Democratization, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The CSV was part of the project ‘Supporting inclusive dialogue at a challenging time in Turkey’, supported by the EU and the Irish, Dutch and Norwegian governments. A full transcript report of the meetings that took place as part of this visit is forthcoming. Please refer to the gallery section of the website for photos of the events and to ‘In the media’ for media coverage.