DPI Roundtable Meeting,’ Youth Engagement in Conflict Resolution Processes: Lessons Learnt from the Turkish Experience with the WPC’, Istanbul, 15 February 2020

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On 15 February 2020, Democratic Progress Institute held a Roundtable meeting in Istanbul with a group of diverse young people from across Turkey’s many constituencies. The youth group is carefully put together to include representatives of the three main political parties in Turkey (AKP, CHP and HDP) as well as comprising committed and influential persons from a variety of professional backgrounds, including teachers, academics, social workers, university students, members of civil society and conflict resolution workers. As part of DPI’s series of meetings exploring the role of young people in conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and democratisation processes, this roundtable, for the first time, provided a forum for participants to discuss this topic directly in relation to the situation in Turkey. Participants were given the opportunity to listen to former Wise Persons’ Committee members Prof. Dr. Vahap Çoşkun and Ali Bayramoglu who provided their analyses and subjective assessments of the previous process in Turkey. Through hearing the experiences of the former WPC members, youth participants developed an understanding of the role and impact of the WPC, including what it stood for, how it was designed and implemented, and its achievements, as well as its obstacles and shortcomings. The youth group then reflected on how they saw the process that took place in Turkey, how much they felt they were engaged in it, and looked ahead at their own visions of peace to examine how the previous experience, and its impact on young people, can be used positively to affect a future resumption of the peace process in Turkey. The RT forms part of a larger series of activities planned in the context of the project: “Supporting inclusive dialogue at a challenging time in Turkey”, supported by the EU and the Norwegian government.