Peace and Reconciliation

For DEMOS, peace entails a long-term process involving the elimination of all conditions that may reignite armed conflict and a decent confrontation with the past. A correct identification of the root causes of violence resulting from conflict must be the first step in building a durable and permanent peace. In this sense, reflecting on the causes and solutions for structural violence, determining how different segments of society have been impacted by conflict, and contributing to peace processes that are capable of meeting the needs of all of these diverse segments are important components of peace studies.

Acting from a critical peace perspective, DEMOS seeks to promote peace studies alternative to the mainstream in Turkey. With an awareness that each conflict has its own particular circumstances resulting from the social, economic and political dynamics of the region in question, it features grassroots and locally initiated peacebuilding processes in its work and espouses a subject-centred approach. An inclusive gender perspective is both present in the outcomes of the organisation’s work and informs its processes of knowledge production. In this vein, it also seeks to render visible women’s and/or LGBTI+ struggles for peace. It engages in activities to empower the stakeholders of societal peace, placing importance on making peace a demand and attitude shared by all segments of society and its institutions.

Reconciliation refers to an expansive field focusing on the reparation of relationships between individuals and societies in the wake of war and conflict. Long-term violence, human rights violations and traumas radically impair the ability to live together, eroding principals vital to political and everyday life such as trust, solidarity and respect in interpersonal relations.

DEMOS treats reconciliation as part of its peace work, yet considers processes of reconciliation to be long-term, multi-dimensional and complex efforts extending beyond peacebuilding periods per se. It defines reconciliation as the improvement of interpersonal relationships on various levels with respect to the conflict periods. Work in this area involves not only communal and individual relationships, but also initiatives to reconfigure the relationship between state and citizens within an egalitarian and democratic framework enabled by a political reconciliation achieved by way of institutions and laws. It studies reconciliatory practices with an alternative and comprehensive lens encompassing psychological perspectives, constitution building, justice mechanisms and religious or cultural practices.