Dr Zeynep Kaya
Dr Zeynep Kaya is a Research Fellow at London School of Economics and Political Science, she attended a Foreign Affairs Committee evidence session on Kurdish aspirations and the interests of the UK inquiry.
How did you prepare for the session?
In advance of the session, the Committee Specialist gave me a general overview of what topics and issues were likely to be discussed, although of course not every question you will be asked can be predicted in advance.
I thought about the key dimensions of my research and studies, particularly those that were relevant to the focus and aims of the inquiry, and how my expertise and background might be useful in shedding light on those areas of interest to the Committee.
I also carried out a fact-checking exercise on specific details that might come up during the evidence session.
How did you feel the session went?
I felt the session went well. I was impressed with the quality of the questions. I thought they reflected a very good level of understanding of a complex topic such as Kurdish politics by the Committee. Since I was attending this session as an academic expert with no political or advocacy position, I felt relaxed responding to the questions and providing opinions.
What was the outcome?
I sought to offer nuanced and objective analysis through concise (and short!) answers, which I hoped would contribute to the development of an informed and well-substantiated committee report.
After this inquiry, I applied to become a Specialist Adviser position for the same committee (Foreign Affairs Committee) as I thought I could offer more support to this inquiry. During our conversations regarding the oral evidence session, the Committee Specialist mentioned that the Committee was going to hire a Specialist Adviser and, once the open call for applicants was made, I applied and I was delighted to get this position. I have hugely enjoyed doing it.
Have you gained anything from the experience of giving evidence?
Giving oral evidence gave me the chance to identify aspects of my expertise and research that can have a positive impact on the formation of parliamentary debates. It was a great privilege to be able to share these with the Committee.
It has been a great experience to work as a specialist adviser on this inquiry and to gain important insights on the internal workings of a specialist committee. I worked closely with the Committee Specialist and my co-specialist adviser, Robert Lowe, on analysing evidence, identifying crucial, potential sources of future problems or solutions, inconsistencies and controversial debates and on drafting the report.
I was hugely impressed with the thoroughness of the whole inquiry and how much hard work went into the process of preparing the inquiry report. It was wonderful to witness these behind-the-scenes processes handled by highly skilled and knowledgeable people. This process made me appreciate what a challenging task it is to develop a policy or advisory position on ongoing political problems.
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