Preliminary Meeting on Science and Art of Peace and Reconciliation

17-19 February 1993, Istanbul, Hotel Dedeman

Similar to the need that created the "First European Conference on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution" the Dedeman family felt the need to organize a regional conference on the Middle East, because this is a region that demands an urgency for peacemaking and the conflict resolution activst can do a lot. With the organization of Search for Common Ground, Washington D.C., and the support of the Dedeman Group, the pre-conference meeting of the "Conference on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution in the Middle East" was realized in Istanbul.

Twenty-four people from Turkey, Israel, the USA, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Kuwait and Jordan participated in the conference. The first point emphasized in this pre-conference meetng was the importance of informal meetings in maintaining peace in the Middle East. Intergovernmental, diplomatic meetings were the "first track" to realize peace. Informal meetings, to be held among the citizens of different countries, were presented as the "second track" ; the importance of such meetings to support the effort for peace was communciated to the participants and this approach was widely accepted.

However, for political reasons, organizing a conference accessible to everyone involved in the field was not possible. And because of political sensitivities, it was decided to enlarge the regional borders of the meeting and to also invite participants from Azerbeijan, Armenia, Georgia, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Cyprus and Greece.

In the course of the conference it was emphasized that the precondition of realizing peace was to realize the national security first. Therefore it was decided to hold a series of conferences on the "Middle East Peace Process form a Defense Perspective" in Istanbul in May 1993. The principal aim of these series of conferences were to form the basis of the "Middle East Conference on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution" and to clarify the subject matter of that conference.

Finally, conflict resolution methods that could help promote peace were introduced and the program of the conference was planned in line with these methods.

Since these kinds of meetings were considered to be beneficial, "second track" diplomacy was included among the objectives of the Umut Foundation.