‘Wise Men’ declare roadmap in efforts to help solve Kurdish question

3 September 2012 / TODAY’S ZAMAN, ISTANBUL – The ‘Wise Men’ delegation, which is made up of members from nongovernmental organizations who are seeking to produce solutions to the country’s Kurdish question, held their first meeting in İstanbul on Sunday.

In a declaration issued after the meeting, the delegation made public their seven-article roadmap, which lays out how the delegation will work and how it will seek to help solve the Kurdish question.

Turkey’s Kurdish question has existed since the early years of the republic, but it turned violent after the establishment of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 1984, which is fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s Southeast.

According to the Wise Men’s roadmap, the delegation will have a maximum of 15 members, and its members will not be political actors. The delegation will contact anyone in its efforts to seek solutions to the Kurdish question, and the delegation will not face accusations or charges for its contacts.

The Wise Men group also said in its roadmap that the delegation will share its suggestions about a solution for the Kurdish question with the president, who represents the unity of the state. The delegation will, in addition, visit the country’s political parties and their leaders to ask for their contributions to the settlement of the Kurdish matter. And the delegation will come together with nongovernmental organizations to seek their opinion on the Kurdish question.

Şah İsmail Bedirhanoğlu, chairman of the Southeastern Anatolia Businessmen’s Association (GÜNSİAD), who is also a member of the Wise Men delegation, said the delegation is scheduled to hold its second meeting next week. “Our delegation will not have members from political parties or organizations. But it will have members with leftist or rightist backgrounds. Its members may have proximity to political parties, but they will not have ties or membership in political parties. This is a must in order to ensure the impartiality of the delegation. Our delegation will work for the creation of a ground for dialogue in Parliament,” he said.

Bedirhanoğlu also said the Wise Men will work for the drafting of a new constitution as well as working to solve the Kurdish question.