The peace process and the new Constitution

The peace process and the new Constitution

We are currently experiencing a new situation, in which our issues are to be solved through negotiations. Political parties, the elite of the state, non-governmental organizations, and society, are all participating in this process.

Talks are being held among political parties, and also between the political domain and society, as well as within society.

This is a first.

For the first time in the history of our republic, we are trying to solve our social problems by means of “civilian and democratic negotiations.”

And besides, this is happening at a time when we are living with the widespread and deepening problem of “social and political polarization.” It is as if we are not aware of how important and how historic the experience we are living actually is.

We are passing through a historic period.

At first glance, there is a picture indicating that we are not reconciling, as if relations between political parties are getting more strained. It is as if we are not ready for this process.

This is a correct image.

First, we are learning. We are learning about finding a solution through negotiations. We are learning that deliberative democracy is possible in our country.

Second, each actor is letting the chips fall as they may. Political parties are openly exposing how and through which principles they view society, the world, politics, and the current transformation. The era of looking enthusiastic but being reluctant in discourse is ending. Who is who, what they say, and what they want are emerging much clearer.

Third, we are understanding that reconciliation is difficult, but possible. While the political parties are experiencing a reconciliation problem, for example, the society has gone one step forward and tells the politicians in clear language to reconcile and solve the problems. The fact that Turkey’s stability and peace require negotiation and reconciliation is now better understood.

Besides, we are learning how to negotiate and reconcile while trying to solve two giant issues that we have postponed for many years. Both of them are difficult and long delayed issues.

We are working on the “building of peace” at the essence of the Kurdish issue and in the new Constitution for good, fair and democratic governance. They are two critical processes that are proceeding on separate platforms, but are related to each other.

We started the writing of the new Constitution about two years ago, and the building of peace about four months ago.

The Constitution Conciliation Commission has demonstrated that four parties are able to work together. It has performed successfully.

We know today that Turkey is in the need of a Constitution that will strengthen its democracy, with a strong balancing and monitoring system that contains the joint language of equal citizenship.

Now, as a society, we should demand from political parties to enrich the text presented by the Commission according to these principles.

Each day that passes without violence and without death, as well as the will to lay down arms, shows us how significant negotiating and reconciling are.

Without being pessimistic, but with a realistic stance, we should see not only how important this experience is, but at the same time how we are taking steps forward by learning.

We are experiencing a historic period; it is up to us to be successful.

Fuat Keyman is a columnist for daily Milliyet in which this piece was published on April 3. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.