The conference has been organized by a group of intellectuals, academics, writers and artists including Vedat Türkali, Murathan Mungan, Orhan Pamuk, Rakel Dink, Yasar Kemal, Tarik Ziya Ekinci,  Prof. Yakin Ertürk, Prof. Ioanna Kuçuradi, Prof. Gençay Gürsoy, Prof. Sebnem Korur Fincanci and Arif Sag.


Speaking on behalf of the organizers, HDK Executive Council Member Bircan Yorulmaz invited all different circles, cultural and religious groups, intellectuals, unionists, writers, academics, political parties, NGOs and associations in Turkey to the conference in Ankara, saying, “Turkey is going through an historic process. Today is important for everyone to contribute to the building of a life inspired by freedom and equality principles and to democratic politics based on human rights”.


Remarking that peace and democracy were an urgent need in Turkey, Yorulmaz said that the country’s new constitution should guarantee all different cultures, identities, languages and beliefs in the society and that the judicial system should have human rights and democratic law principles as a reference. Yorulmaz said people needed to create a social pressure for the fulfillment of these demands and indicated the organization of a Conference for Democracy and Peace as an historic responsibility and need in the currently ongoing process.


Speaking after, Gencay Gürsoy said the conference is organized to give voice to the opinions of those siding with a pluralistic, inclusive, multicultural and multiethnic society.


Writer Murathan Mungan evaluated the currently ongoing process of talks as an opportunity Turkey should take, adding, “I am of the opinion that this process should be supported by everyone. Wars have become like a Hollywood film to us by now. We are watching them almost without emotions”.


Referring to the conflict environment in Hatay’s Reyhanli district, where two bomb attacks left dozens killed and injured on 11 May, Mungan called attention to the problems Syrian refugees in the district are experiencing on the hands of radical groups.


“We need to mobilize – he said – if we do not want to get lost in the history of unsolved murders” and called attention to the increasing social violence in the daily life of the country “dominated – he said – by bloodshed, tears, murders, deaths and pain”. Mungan underlined that the society needed to overcome the spread violence culture across the country.


“More painful times lie ahead of us should we happen to miss this historic opportunity”, he warned. (ANF, May 16, 2013)