TURKEY : Wise-men commission may gather outside Parliament

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News – 21.3.2013 – The government is likely to take concrete steps next week to form a “wise men’s commission” as part of the ongoing resolution process in line with the outcome of the mass celebration of the Nevruz holiday in Diyarbakır today.

“As the government, we are working on the issue of ‘wise men.’ But we should not consider wise men individually. Wise men should represent institutions. The involvement of people representing NGOs, labor unions and businesspeople would positively affect the process. We are working on this issue,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters at a press conference in Ankara on March 19. Both the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) executives have been involved in the forming of the commission, yet the final decision about members will be made by Erdoğan.

Taking potential problems into consideration, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is focusing on a commission that would work outside of Parliament.The AKP has not yet made up its mind on whether the commission should include representatives from political parties. In the case of receiving support from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), both the AKP and the BDP are likely to be represented at the commission. Yet it is known that the CHP’s tendency is to have such a commission under the roof of Parliament.

‘Turkey losing time’

Last year, the CHP proposed establishing a joint parliamentary commission, the Societal Reconciliation Commission, along with a commission of “wise people” to discuss possible methods to solve the Kurdish issue. “Turkey is losing time,” CHP Deputy Chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu said on March 20 of the government’s plan. “When we introduced our proposal, Mr. Prime Minister had asked, ‘Where are these wise men?’” Tanrıkulu said.