Republican Ireland ready to help Turkey-Kurds peace / U.S. help important


April 11, 2013 – AFP – ANKARA:  Republican  Ireland is ready to share its experience with Turkey on ending decades of violence, a negotiator for the Good Friday Northern Ireland accords said Wednesday. Dominic Hannigan, a former head of the Good Friday Agreement committee, told his Turkish and Kurdish counterparts that they must “take risks” for peace if they hope to end three decades of armed struggle.

“It’s a long road. Nobody is going to sign a peace agreement overnight,” Hannigan told AFP. Turkey is exploring outside models including the ending of “The Troubles” between Britain and the Irish Republican Army through the Good Friday agreement in 1998.

A group of Irish lawmakers visited Ankara this week for discussions with Turkey’s political parties to tell about their experience with the IRA which fought for a united Ireland. “It was a very painful process and it actually took two ceasefires before we reached an agreement,” Hannigan said.

The official said that outside help from US senator George Mitchell was important, suggesting that Turkey could do the same. “I think the important thing is for people not to lose hope, for politicians to take the risks,” Hannigan said. “I’ve no doubt that peace will be achieved. The question is when. It will only be achieved when the various parties decide that absolutely peace is the best way forward and that those parties take risks for peace.”