‘Turkey’s Democratisation and Reform Package and Peaceful Solution to the Kurdish Question’


 CEFTUS Westminster Debate

‘Turkey’s Democratisation and Reform Package and Peaceful Solution to the Kurdish Question’

The Centre for Turkey Studies (CEFTUS) is pleased to invite you to a Westminster Debate on ‘Turkey’s Democratisation and Reform Package and Peaceful Solution to the Kurdish Question’ following the Prime Minister Erdogan’s recent announcement of the ‘Democratisation Package’.  CEFTUS is delighted to welcome our guest speakers Mr Altan Tan, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) MP for Diyarbakir and Mr Eyup Burc, journalist and co-ordinator of IMC TV in Turkey.  Please find short biographies for each speaker below.

This event will take place following the PM Erdogan’s highly anticipated announcement of the ‘Democratisation Package’. The reforms have both been praised and criticised. Proposed measures such as lowering or eliminating the electoral threshold on a ‘narrowed’ constituency system and introduction of education in Kurdish at non-state schools have been welcomed as steps towards democratisation. The reforms package also lifts the ban on wearing headscarves in civil service excluding court judges, prosecutors, and military and security personnel, and removes the compulsory Turkish nationalist vow at primary schools. On the other hand, it has been commented that such reforms are not ultimately adequate to facilitate the Kurdish peace process as well as the package failed to acknowledge Alevis’ concerns regarding granting legal status to Cemevis (Alevi places of worship). The package has been further criticised for its lack of transparency and negotiations with other political parties and non-governmental organisations.

One of our advisors, Bill Park of King’s College, London University, will kindly chair this debate.

This CEFTUS Westminster Debate is kindly hosted by Lord Sheikh.

The event will take place on Thursday 17th of October, between 7.00PM and 9.00PM in Room 4A, House of Lords.

Committee Room 4A, House of Lords, Parliament, Westminster, London SW1A 0A

We look forward to welcoming you at this CEFTUS Westminster Debate.

Booking is required for this event to ensure adequate seating availability.

Please register on here

or RSVP to [email protected]


Looking forward to hearing from you,

Ibrahim Dogus



Speaker Biographies

Altan Tan is a Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) MP for Diyarbakir following the 2011 General Elections in Turkey.  Tan, originally from Mardin, spent most of his childhood in Diyarbakir. His father Bedii Tan was killed under torture in Diyarbakir Prison following the Military Coup of 12 September 1980. Altan Tan graduated from Faculty of Civil Engineering, Ankara State Academy of Engineering and Architecture in 1981. Following his military service in Istanbul, Manisa and Ankara (1982-1984) he became Deputy Mayor of Ankara Kecioren Municipality (1984-1985). He served at the Central Executive Committee of the Welfare Party (Refah Partisi) (1990-1991). In 1993, he was one of the founding members of the Great Change Party (Buyuk Degisim Partisi – BDP), which was founded under the leadership of Aydin Menderes. Tan was elected to BDP’s General Executive Board. Tan with Menderes, due to self-dissolution of BDP, joined Democrat Party (DP) in 1994 and he was elected to DP’s General Executive Board for two years.  However, he took a break from politics when Menderes joined the Welfare Party. Tan returned to politics in 2000. He served at the People’s Democracy Party (HADEP) Party Parliamentary Council (2000-2002). His articles were published in magazines such as Yeni Zemin and Sozlesme, and dailies such as Demokrasi, Yeni Gündem, Yeni Şafak, Zaman, Özgür Politika, Özgün Duruş and Star. His book ‘Kürt Sorunu Ya Tam Kardeşlik Ya Hep Birlikte Kölelik’ (Kurdish Issue: Either Absolute Brotherhood or En Masse Slavery) was published in 2009 from Timas Publications. Tan has been a member of the recent Parliamentary Constitution Committee. He is also a member of Inter-parliamentary Turkey-Angola Friendship Group.

Eyüp Burc is a journalist. He currently works as the leading co-ordinator of IMC TV, a news channel of which he was a founding member. He graduated from Istanbul Pertevniyal College. He studied Philosophy at Ankara University and Sociology at Bielefeld University. Burc wrote columns for Özgür Gündem daily, Özgür Politika daily and Azadîya Welat daily. He was a founding member of the first Kurdish TV channel, Med TV, which began broadcasting in 1995 in Belgium. He worked as an editor, reporter and moderator for Med TV for many years. He speaks Kurdish, Turkish and German.