Mungan: We need to crack the country prevalent mentality to achieve peace

ANF – Ankara 26.05.2013 – The Democracy and Peace Conference in Ankara opened and continued on Saturday with messages putting emphasis on the necessity of achievement of peace and democracy across the country.

The opening speech of the conference was made by BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) Istanbul deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder, followed by the speeches of Prof. Gençay Gürsoy, Diyarbakır Bar Association President Mehmet Emin Aktar, TIHV (Human Rights Foundation of Turkey) President Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Murathan Mungan and BDP co-chair Gültan Kışanak.

Writer Murathan Mungan said Turkey was currently witnessing a dangerous process and a great public anger dominating the whole country. Making peace with Kurds cannot be achieved without making peace with the present anger, he underlined and remarked that it was a need to create a common language in the current process in search of a peaceful future. “We cannot express ourselves nor give voice to our reality. We need to initiate cracks to enable a change in mentalities. It is indeed difficult but not impossible to tell peace to a mass with senses distorted since 1980”, he added.

Speaking after, BDP co-chair Gültan Kışanak put emphasis on the differences of the current resolution process than previous ones and commented the talks between the Turkish state and Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan as a historic development paving the way for a lasting peace for all oppressed and otherized peoples in Anatolia and Mesopotamia. Kışanak stated that it was important in the currently ongoing process to shed light on the past and to replace the pains of the past with justice. “We can have the power and chance to correct the mistakes of the past should we look at the future all together. At this conference, which is being attended by all the oppressed, denied, assimilated and otherized circles of this ancient territory, we will build our future all together and discuss what kinds of a country, future and peace we demand. It is us who will build a new future on these lands and ensure the progress of the current process of re-construction. This is a journey to the future, to a lasting peace and to a life basing on the equality of everyone’s rights”, she said.

BDP co-chair called attention to the necessity of the removal of all obstacles before democratic struggle and politics, adding, “The current process must be crowned by a new democratic constitution to guarantee freedom for all identities and belief groups and rights of all peoples. It must offer a solution but not a deadlock in the face of the problems in the country”. Kışanak underlined that social negotiation was the most important part to be achieved in the ongoing process of talks and that it was a need to enable peoples to touch, see and understand each other. Kışanak ended her speech by calling on everyone to take part in the process of the re-construction of the country and to take responsibility in order to create a new liberated Turkey.

Writers Vedat Türkali, Yaşar Kemal and Orhan Pamuk and Rakel Dink, couldn’t attend the conference but sent messages to the conference on Saturday, laying stress on the value of identities and cultures. Türkali said the bloodshed in the country will come to an end thanks to the currently ongoing process of negotiations and pointed out that Kurdish leader Öcalan and KCK (Kurdish Communities Union) have taken the necessary steps with an aim to achieve a lasting peace across the country. “It is the government’s duty to come up with a solution to not only the Kurdish question but also to the problems of all peoples living in Turkey, including Armenians, Jews, Gipsies, Georgians. It is an absolute need to prepare a new powerful constitution in order to ensure a together living for all peoples on these lands and to guarantee their constitutional rights and freedoms. What I demand is brotherhood, love and the freedom to live with conscience”.

Writer Yaşar Kemal also put emphasis on the importance of the establishment of a democratic system which -he said- was a need to enable everyone to live with their basic human rights such as living with their own identity and culture. Rakel Dink, wife of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink who was murdered on 19 January 2007, said she believed the conference would offer a significant contribution to the peace and democracy culture and struggle in Turkey. “Freedom and democracy can be achieved on conditions of ensuring equality for differences and confrontation with the past”, she added.