International Peace Initiative Launched today with joint call led by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu for the Resumption of Dialogue on the Kurdish Question in Turkey

RELEASE, 3rd of December, 2012   / PLEASE FIND ATTACHED:

1) the full text of the International Appeal and first list of signatories

2) the transcription of the videomessage from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

3) the full statement of Judge Essa Moosa

4) an info file on the International Peace Initiative

A press conference was held on Monday 3rd December at the Résidence Palace in Brussels to launch the The International Peace Initiative with a joint call, led by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and supported by other leading international figures, for a Resumption of Dialogue between Turkey and the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, for a lasting and peaceful settlement of the Kurdish Question in Turkey.

The signatories to this call include:

·         His Holiness Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize, Tibet

          Jimmy Carter, Nobel Peace Prize, former President of the United States of America

·         José Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Prize, Former President of East Timor

·         Mr. Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin President, Ireland

·         Mr. Kjell Magne Bondevik, Former Prime Minister of Norway

·         Mr. Ingvar Carlsson, Former Prime Minister, Sweden

·         Mr. Paavo Lipponen, Former Prime Minister, Finland

·         Mr. Anker Jørgensen, Former Prime Minister, Denmark

·         Mr. Kjeld Olesen, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Denmark

The press conference was opened with a video message from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who was followed by Ms. Rigzin C. Genkhang on behalf of the Brussels Representative of H.H. the Dalai Lama. Judge Essa Moosa, formerly a Judge of the High Court of South Africa and appointed by Archbishop Tutu to represent him at the press conference, also provided a short statement about the Initiative.

The object of the International Peace Initiative is to appeal to the international community to support the call of Archbishop Tutu for the Resumption of Dialogue by placing the issue on the international agenda; assisting the parties to gain trust and respect and negotiating a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish Question in Turkey.


Talks which started at the beginning of 2009 between the Turkish Government and the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan have broken down for reasons insignificant to the conflict itself. In our opinion a dialogue needs to be reopened.

For any talks to succeed it has to be recognized that the Kurdish people are a permanent feature of the land they share with their fellow citizens. The fundamental realities cannot be denied forever, and genuine dialogue towards a lasting peace seems the only proper way forward.

Dialogue between the parties is the only way to secure a peaceful resolution to the conflict and peace is a precondition for establishing a democratic Turkey. Successful dialogue will make all other methods unnecessary.  Peace talks will bring hope to the Kurdish and Turkish people who have been living under the shadow of a protracted conflict with no apparent end in sight.
It is never too late to act for a better future. Now is the time to seize the moment to break the deadlock and lay the basis for a lasting peace.
It is for this reason that we call on the parties to take the necessary steps to restart the talks in good faith with the aim of giving democracy and peace a new chance for the sake of all the people of Turkey.

God bless you

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu


Text of Video Message from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu


“Greetings from Cape Town. It is a great pleasure to address you – albeit from afar.My message to the leaders of the Turks and the Kurds is a very simple one: Peace is better than war. Peace is better than war for your brothers and your sisters, for yourselves and your children, for your country and for your region, and for the world we share.But making peace is much more difficult than waging war. Making peace requires of combatants with entrenched positions and prejudices – and grudges – to set aside their anger and disdain and admit that maybe, just possibly, there might be some validity to their adversaries’ political, cultural and social identities and positions.

I feel deeply troubled by the violence that is once again spiralling out of control in Turkey between the Turks and the Kurds. The fact that thousands are languishing in prison for political offences – some awaiting trial and others convicted and serving lengthy prison sentences – is also deeply troubling. I have learnt with considerable gratitude that the more than 700 political detainees and prisoners in Turkey have gracefully responded to the call of Abdullah Öcalan from prison that they should call off the hunger strike. They have been on hunger strike for more than 60 days. This, in my view, sets the tune for peaceful negotiations. I appeal to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to grab the olive branch of peace which is held out by Abdullah Öcalan.

It is time to talk and to listen.

In 2009, talks between the imprisoned Kurdish leader, Abdullah Öcalan, and Turkish authorities created hope for lasting peace. It reminded us of the first talks the apartheid Government had with the imprisoned Nelson Mandela – which eventually led to our peaceful journey from apartheid to democracy!

In September 2010, we welcomed the announcement that the Turkish Government was going to hold “comprehensive official talks” with Öcalan.

But our hopes were dashed, following general elections in Turkey in July 2011. The talks were summarily terminated – violence escalated and many more Kurdish activists were detained.

My appeal to Turks and Kurds is for an urgent cease-fire to take root as a necessary first step to formal negotiations, reconciliation and lasting peace.

Peace is better than war. God bless you!

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu


The International Peace Initiative (IPI) is launched on Monday 3rd December 2012, to work towards finding a lasting and durable peace in Turkey through a process of dialogue and negotiations between the Turkish Government and Abdullah Öcalan, representing the Kurdish people. It seeks the support of the international community and international institutions to support, promote and encourage such process for the good of all the people of Turkey.

The objectives of the IPI are:

•          To facilitate a lasting peaceful solution to the Kurdish Question and provide a political and social bridge that opens the way for dialogue.

•          To welcome peace-building steps from all parties to the conflict and encourage compromise

•          To highlight in an international forum the key issues affecting the resolution of the Kurdish Question

•          To inform policy makers and the public, through periodic reports and recommendations, on developments in Turkey with regard to the resolution of the Kurdish Question.

The IPI will be headed by a Secretariat which will implement the objectives.

Contact details for the Secretariat are: Anna Irvin  Secretariat of IPI – +44 207 193 0832