Peace should be sustainable and entail democratization: Former top boss Boyner
ISTANBUL - Radikal
"It is essential not to consider everything over and solved. This is just the beginning," Ümit Boyner, former TÜSİAD chairwoman, said in an interview with daily Radikal. DHA photoReaching peace on Turkey's thorny Kurdish issue is a stop along the longer path of democratization, said Ümit Boyner, the former chairwoman of Turkey's leading business association in an interview published by daily Radikal March 30. "This time it appears that there is a bigger possibility of peace than the previous cease-fire periods. Of course I am thrilled by this. But putting aside the significance of peace, what's important for me and Turkey is that this peace can be sustainable," said Boyner, whose term at the head of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) ended in January.
"Laying down arms is an important starting point. But what sort of democratic environment will be pledged after that? Will equal opportunities, freedom of speech and legal safeguards be provided for all Turkish citizens? The way that the process will move forward is also very important for me," she added.
The recent talks launched between the Turkish government and the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, entered a new phase following the latter's declaration of a cease-fire and call on the militants to withdraw from Turkey during the Nevruz celebrations in Diyarbakır March 21. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during a televised interview March 29 that the process was "going well."
Boyner warned that although the developments were promising, Turkey was still at the beginning of a very long phase. "It is essential not to consider everything over and solved. Turkey passed through a Kurdish-issue and terror problem because of its lack of democracy. Now, we are starting [to fix the lack democracy] by tackling the terror issue first. So this is a very important threshold. It requires the transition from a culture of conflict to a culture of mutual understanding." Boyner said democratization was a very long process itself. "Not only Kurds, but every Turkish citizen has a democracy problem, there is a problem in the relationship between the state and the citizen."
Responding to rumors that she would be part of a "wise people commission" that the government will establish to raise public support for the process, Boyner said she was not aware of her name being considered. "I follow the discussions in the media," she said.
Erdoğan has explained that seven commissions will be set up, one for each of the country's seven regions, each comprised of seven members. They will visit NGOs and organize conferences in order to "develop public perception," Erdoğan said March 29.