ERDOGAN’S WISE CHOICE : Three or four ‘wise men’ commissions to be formed: Turkish PM Erdoğan /


Writer Yaşar Kemal & Business boss Rıfat Hisarcıklıoğlu among wise men.

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet – 24.3.2013 – Three or four “wise men” commissions, each comprised of seven representatives of civil society, could be formed to guide the ongoing peace process, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters on March 23, while traveling to Eskişehir where he was scheduled to attend several meetings.

Erdoğan emphasized, however, that these commissions would not have competency to monitor the withdrawal of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants from Turkey, as it has been suggested before.

“The government is the interlocutor of this process. We are working on the aspect of informing and preparing the public [on the process]. Scholars, businessmen, NGOs, and journalists can take part in these commissions. It is important to prepare the public,” Erdoğan said, adding that this groundwork could prevent provocative actions from those who intend to disrupt the process. “The wise men have to prepare public perception. If they can do it, nobody can fly a flag from the pulpit in the Turkish Parliament. [Such actions] are provocations and are for show.”

Writer Yaşar Kemal, business boss Rıfat Hisarcıklıoğlu among wise men

Meanwhile, some of the names that are expected to take part in the commissions have already been identified, private broadcaster NTV reported, March 23. Internationally acclaimed novelist Yaşar Kemal and Turkey’s top business boss Rıfat Hısarcıklıoğlu will be among the group of 25 to 30 wise men. Hisarcıklıoğlu, the chairman of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), was also selected last week as the sole international head of the Jerusalem Arbitration Center (JAC), which mediates commercial conflicts between Israeli and Palestinian business groups.

Journalist Hasan Cemal, an expert on the Kurdish issue and whose columns were reportedly censored following Erdoğan’s pressure on Milliyet after the daily published notes from the meeting between the jailed leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, and the parliamentary delegation from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), was also mentioned. Taraf daily’s editor-in-chief Oral Çalışlar, prominent columnist Ali Bayramoğlu, as well as legal scholars Mithat Sancar, Fazıl Hüsnü Erdem and Kurdish scholar Vahap Coşkun are also among the selected wise men.

The list also comprises two iconic cinema artists, Kadir İnanır and Jülide Kural, who had voiced their support for the peace process in the past.  The “wise men” commissions would have a supervisory status and will be tasked with developing responses to problems that could arise during the different stages of the resolution process.