Call for Papers: Critical Approaches to the Peace Process in Turkey

25 08 2015

Trust24-25 March 2016, Coventry University, London Campus 

The “peace process” (çözüm süreci), also known as the Turkish-Kurdish peace process, is defined in the broad sense as a process of reconciliation and more narrowly as negotiations between the Turkish government headed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). It aims to find a peaceful solution to the armed conflict that has been raging for the past three decades resulting in great loss of life and material and environmental destruction. The process that according to many started in 2012 could have potentially put an end to Turkey’s 90 years-long systematic policy of assimilation and securitization of the Kurdish identity and the PKK’s 30 year old insurgency. From its start, most commentators welcomed the idea of negotiations, while others declared their suspicions regarding the ultimate aims of the negotiating parties. Many perceived it as a positive achievement keeping in mind that there might be spoilers ahead and presidential, local or national elections might derail this initiative and put it to a more turbulent crossroad.

The process, extending over many rounds of talks, involved various “geographies”: from the Imrali prison island where the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan is imprisoned, to Oslo where talks between representatives of the two parties were initially hosted, and the Dolmabahçe Palace, where deputies from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan presented a 10 point reconciliation declaration, and the Qandil mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan, where senior PKK members welcomed delegations from Turkey in their bases.

The peace process raised great expectations and hopes, and faced various setbacks due to lack of mutual trust, domestic and regional dynamics and upsurges in hostilities. On several occasions the talks were said to reach a turning point, either resulting in a collapse or break through. In July 2015, Turkey abandoned the peace process and resumed military operations against the PKK, hitting more than 400 targets in the first night of air-strikes only. The PKK retaliated by ambushing security forces inside Turkey, but also calling the masses to take responsibility for the peace process. The recent flaring-up of hostilities shows that a peace process is not a linear or even an irreversible process.

At the Conference “Critical Approaches to the Peace Process in Turkey” we aim to critically engage with the peace process, not so much focusing on “the right conditions”, assuming a universal template to be applied to conflict resolution, but instead identify and discuss variables relevant for the peace process in Turkey, ranging from weather conditions and broken transport vessels to amnesty, reform and disarmament, transitional justice mechanisms, reconciliation, forgiving, language and cultural revival to post-conflict reconstruction, to name just a few. What we try to accomplish through this approach is not to reason from other experiences to the Kurdish-Turkish process, indicating what is lacking or should happen from those perspectives, but to detail and explain the dynamics of the process in Turkey in all its complexity from a critical point of view. Rather than repeating already existing arguments and comparisons, we are interested in innovative approaches to this process, which may unpack the developments that have been experienced so far. This critical engagement also implies a thorough evaluation, a reasoning from the case itself, including a discussion of the peace process from a historical perspective, as a process of actors engaging with the politicization of a security discourse and the development of a war by other means, social and transitional justice, inclusiveness, exclusiveness and diaspora’s and other civil society actors’ role in this process.

In short, the conference is open to discuss everything that affects the course and content of the peace process and its outcomes. Those interested in presenting a paper are invited to send in an abstract before November 1, 2015 and their paper before February 15. See the timeline below for further details.

After the conference, we will prepare a special issue for a prestigious academic journal and therefore expect that the submitted papers are up to high academic standards.

November 1, 2015: Latest date for submission of abstracts

December 1, 2015: Decisions communicated

January 15, 2016: Publication of draft program

February 15: Submission of conference papers (2,000 words)
June 1, 2016: Submission of journal article (6,000-8,000 words)

Registration dates:

November 1, 2015: Registration opens
January,1 2016: Early Bird Registration deadline
Registration fee: early registration 75 GBP (students 50 GBP)
Late registration 100 GBP (students 75GBP)


The conference is organized by Dr. Bahar Başer (Coventry University), Dr. Joost Jongerden (Wageningen University), and Dr. Welat Zeydanlıoğlu (Kurdish Studies Network/Kurdish Studies Journal).

Conference Venue:

Coventry University, London Campus. (Lloyds Building, 109-117 Middlesex St, London E1 7JF)


Please submit your abstracts and queries to:

CfP – Critical Approaches to the Peace Process in Turkey



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