Turkey Peace Parliament: Results Report
The first plenum of the Turkey Peace Parliament on 1 September has resulted in a report, a summary of which is given below.
Ankara - Bıa news centre
04 September 2007, Tuesday 11:52
The Turkish Peace Parliament has come up with a series of proposals to bring peace to Turkey:
"Our country is experiencing an environment of conflict and violence which has continued for years and is showing signs of turnign into an increasingly serious civil war. Today our region is as much a centre for peace as for war. All the knots that were created by imperialist attacks are here, and all the solutions are here, too."
"Following the conference in Ankara on 13-14 January 2007, entitled "Turkey is Looking for its Peace", it was said in a closing report: "This conference has done the duties of a peace parliament. However, in order for the draft programme to mature, to bring it to the people and to the political agenda, there was a need for a more organised approach. Our aim is to lead the social organisation of the conference which will build peace."
"As a result the Turkey Peace Parliament was formed. It has accepted the below programme which is based on evaluations of historical accumulation in the world and aims at bringing peace to our country":
- The basic aim is democracy, human rights and freedoms and social justice for everyone in Turkey, starting with an end to armed conflict and a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question. Efforts will be made to make visible and put an end to discrimination based on social, sexual, ethnic, economical and cultural differences, not limited to the Kurdish question.
- The hurdles placed in front of Kurdish identiies and political representation must be lifted. Thus:
- The high electoral hurdle, which is a hurdle to fair representation, must be abolished.
- All legal hurdles which limit the activities of political parties must be abolished. A new Law on Political Parties must be passed. It must allow parties to have an independent and effective role in the areas of democracy and politics.
- There must be more space for local government and thus more representation and participation.
- There must be efforts to create a free and peaceful political climate in which all sections of society can take part in discussions and the development of solutions.
- There must be a parliamentarian commission to study the Kurdish question and provide solutions.
- It must be accepted that Kurdish political representatives and parties are in contact at all levels in the process of the formation of the Peace Parliament.
- There must be a new constitution which expresses the will of living together, which guarantees the legal equality and freedom of all citizens in a way which avoids exclusionary definitions and allows for a common political identity. This constitution must offer all citizens equal rights and responsibilities.
Our efforts for peace will be greatly strengthened by a common committee of mothers who lost their children in the conflict.
- There must be efforts towards abolishing all legal and practical hurdles that prevent women from participating in civil, official and political institutions at all levels.
- There must be a planned political amnesty or a democratic participation programme which allows for participation in social, public and political life without compromising the public conscience.
- All traces of the regime of emergency law must be made to disappear and there must be a transition to a life where there are ordinary living conditions and the rule of law. Thus:
- Unsolved murders must be investigated, criminal officials must not be protected, but tried in a fair manner and punished.
- There must be an end to the village guard system. Village guards must be offered alternative employment and guaranteed a continuation of their social security.
- The economic, social and psychological disasters which result from forced migration must be dealt with and preventative action must be taken.
- There must be an urgent mine clearance programme in the area.
Social and Cultural Proposals
- There must be projects which offer development on the basis of positive discrimination in order to deal with the intense poverty in the region and the inequality between regions.
- Provincial cities, such as Erzurum, Van, Diyarbakir and Batman, must be turned into centres of economical, cultural and social attraction in order to play a leading role in the development of the region.
- The profits from the region's natural resources and energy enterprises (water, electricity, petrol, etc.) must be partially assigned to the development of the region and a struggle against poverty.
- There must be urgent investment in order to make irrigated land more productive. Land which has been cleared of mines should be used for organic agriculture.
- 47 percent of the country's cotton production is based in the region. This fact must be exploited by creating a centre for textile industry which would create employment in the area.
- A great percentage of the region's population is aged between 0 and 14. It is essential for social peace, justice and the welfare of the region that this young population be trained as productive individuals, be educated and provided with employment opportunities.
- The existence of different cultures in our country must be accepted as a historical and sociological fact. There must be efforts to change the political and cultural climate which encourages denial and prohibitions, cultural development and communication.
- Kurdish must be allowed to be used in the public sphere. Multilingual public services and political activity must be accepted.
- Besides the Kurdish language and literature, there must also be research into, development of and teaching of all languages and cultures which have influenced the culture of this soil for thousands of years.
- In education and government practices there must be an end to the emphasis on different ethnic and religious identities which creates tension between different sections of society.
The report also offers proposals for a more neutral way of reporting on the armed conflict. It calls for a "language of peace" and an end to the discourse of division. (IA/TK/AG)