Capacity Development for the Effective Participation of Society in the Solution Process of the Kurdish Issue

Following the "democratic opening" process announced by the government in August 2009, work began with the goal of forming resources to serve Turkey's confrontation with its past, and to form a unity of language between civil society organizatons in the field of Turkey's "Transitional Justice" based on experiences across the world. A departure point was the necessity to encourage the identification of capacity gaps for the active participation of civil society in the establishment of peace and reconciliation, and interinstitutional cooperation and collaboration towards this end. Another important point was the necessity to increase the knowledge of civilian actors on the toos and techniques of confronting the past, an area also described as "Transitional Justice". Various projects were carried out in this direction.

In-Depth Meetings with CSOs

In 2010, in order to identify what kind of work civil society organizations were carrying out regarding the social aspect of the Kurdish issue, in-depth meetings were held with a total of 28 institutions in Diyarbakır and Istanbul, and a report of the meetings was published.

Meeting and Workshop: Truth, Justice, Memory: Experiences, Testimonies, Quests

4 - 5 December 2010
Speakers Gaston Chillier (Argentina Center for Legal and Social Studies), Louis Bickford (New York University), Vesna Terselic (Documenta, Croatia)

Participants Civil society organizations, activists, academics and media representatives

"Civil Society for Truth Commissions" Meeting
23 - 24 July 2011

The meeting organized in collaboration with Göç-DER (Migrants' Association for Social Cooperation and Culture), Gözaltında Cinsel Taciz ve Tecavüze Karşı Hukuki Yardım Bürosu (Bureau for Legal Aid for Women Who Were Raped or Sexually Abused in Detention), Hakikat, Adalet ve Hafıza Çalışmaları Merkezi (HAH) (Centre for Truth, Justice and Memory Studies), Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV/HRFT), Yakay-Der (The Association of Solidarity and Assistance for the Families of Missing Persons) and TOHAV was attended by 54 participants from 26 organizations.

Arjantin Work Visit
11 – 15 April 2011

In order to observe on site initiatives developed in order to come to terms with the past, the project realized a work visit to Argentina, and visited the Center for Social and Legal Studies (CELS), the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, the Forensic Anthropology Team, Memoria Abierta, the Garage Olimpo, ESMA Extralegal Detention Centre and the Monument to the Victims of State Terrorism. A report of the visit was published on the Truth, Justice and Memory Studies web site.

"Truth Commissions: Experiences across the World and Turkey" Meeting
15 - 16 October 2011

The goal of the meeting was to share truth commission experiences from different parts of the world and to initiate a discussion on the search for truth in Turkey. Specialists from the USA, South Africa, Peru, Serbia and Turkey held presentations at the meeting, which was attended by civil society representatives, members of parliament, activists, academics, journalists and artists.

Throughout this work, the ultimate goal was to establish a new centre that would work in the field of coming to terms with the past. In November 2011, the Truth Justice Memory Centre was founded as an association and it continues its activities as a separate structure from Anadolu Kültür.

The Truth Justice Memory Centre, in line with the needs determined during the activities mentioned above, was founded with the goals of documenting human rights breaches in accordance with universal standards, following up cases that may constitute a precedent, forming of public opinion regarding the cases, communication to wider sections of society of the truth regarding gross human rights violations, recognition of unjust treatment, support of reparations and contributing to social peace and democracy.

The web site is founded in order to transmit the experiences of post-conflict societies that have experienced similar processes across the world and to assemble the studies of civilian society institutions carrying out work regarding the social dimensions of the Kurdish issue operates today as the web site of the Truth Justice Memory Centre founded as a result of the negotiations mentioned above.