With this understanding, Türkiye has actively worked in recent years towards the resolution of many conflicts in a broad geography. These include endeavours to bring about internal reconciliation in Iraq, Lebanon and Kyrgyzstan; two separate trilateral cooperation processes launched with the participation of Serbia and Croatia to achieve lasting peace and stability in Bosnia-Herzegovina; a trilateral cooperation mechanism launched with Afghanistan and Pakistan, which has an important role in ensuring peace and security in Afghanistan, as well as the “Heart of Asia – İstanbul Process” initiative designed to promote regional ownership; efforts for the peaceful resolution of Iran’s nuclear program issue through dialogue; assistance to talks between Somalia and Somaliland;support to the peace process in South Philippines and steps to facilitate dialogue between Ukraine and the Russian Federation
The most important experience Türkiye has gained in these processes is that each problem has its own dynamics and conditions, and that mediation efforts should be carried out taking into account these differences. However, it should not be forgotten that preventive diplomacy has certain golden rules and some principles to be respected, no matter what the nature of the dispute is. For instance, in order to be a successful mediator, actors should master all dynamics of the problem and must show the long-term commitment that may be required for a lasting solution from the outset. Likewise, the mediator should propose flexible but principles-based strategies from the beginning of the process and be able to present a common vision to the parties of a dispute, in addition to earning their trust.
Türkiye continues its mediation activities in light of these principles.
The “Mediation for Peace” initiative was launched by Türkiye with Finland on September 24, 2010, in New York at the UN with a view to enhance the prominence of mediation in preventive diplomacy in conflict resolution and to ensure the allocation of additional resources for mediation efforts.
In this respect, the Resolution adopted by consensus on June 22, 2011, at the UN General Assembly (A/65/283) in line with these principles and objectives is of special importance, since it is the first.
The momentum created by this Resolution was maintained with the UN’s “Guidance for Effective Mediation” prepared by the Secretary General in June 2012 (A/66/811) and the follow-up Resolution adopted by the General Assembly in September the same year (A/66/291). Türkiye took the lead in translating the "Guidance for Effective Mediation” into Turkish, which made it the first non-UN official language into which the document was translated, and disseminating it widely across the academic and civil society.
The Group of Friends of Mediation initiated another Resolution on the role and importance of regional and sub-regional organizations in mediation in July 2014 (A/68/303). A total of 86 member states co-sponsored the text, which was unanimously adopted by the General Assembly.
Later in September 2016, the UN General Assembly adopted the Resolution on “Strengthening the Role of Mediation in the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes, Conflict Prevention and Resolution” (A/70/304), co-sponsored by 69 member states.
In this process, the “Mediation for Peace” initiative has gathered significant interest and the number of members of the “Group of Friends of Mediation” (GoF) reached 61 (53 countries and eight major regional and international organizations including the UN). The growing support to the work of the Group is a clear testimony of the raising awareness on the importance of mediation.
The UN Group of Friends of Mediation met virtually for the first time on February 2, 2022, for its 11th Ministerial Meeting under the theme of “Mediation as a tool for peaceful settlement and resolution of conflicts: Taking stock after 10 years of the first UN Resolution and looking ahead.” Co-chaired by Turkish and the Finnish Foreign Ministers, the participants reviewed the progress made since the first UN General Assembly Resolution on mediation and discussed future activities of the Group.The meeting was attended by 8 Foreign Ministers, 1 State Minister and 9 Deputy Ministers while,45 member states/international organizations were represented at the event.
The summary report of the meeting can be found here.
Following the success of the initiative at the UN, Türkiye, along with Finland and the then Swiss Presidency of the OSCE, formed a “Group of Friends of Mediation” (GoF) on March 6, 2014, in Vienna. In addition to serving as a platform for sharing experiences, the main objective of the Group is to raise awareness among the OSCE members on the importance of mediation as an effective tool for the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
In the last meeting of GoF hosted by Finland in Vienna on October 27, 2021, the Directors General from Türkiye, Finland and Switzerland as co-chairs focused on the significance of mediation in the OSCE region and the ways and means for increasing the efficiency of the role of the OSCE in this regard. The meeting was one of the first physical events in Vienna after a long break due to the pandemic and created additional visibility to the activities of the Group.
The majority of conflicts worldwide take place within the OIC geography. Since its Term Presidency and Executive Committee Chairmanship at the OIC, Türkiye has been contributing to building the mediation capacity at the OIC.
Within this framework, Resolutions on “Strengthening the Mediation Capacity of the OIC”, submitted by Türkiye, have been adopted at the 45th (53/45-POL), 46th (56/46-POL)47th (55/47-POL) and 48th (54/48-POL) Councils of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the OIC since 2018.
Based on these Resolutions, the OIC has established a Contact Group on Mediation to contribute to the efforts in capacity building for mediation at the OIC. In a short period of time, it has become the second largest Contact Group within the organization. The Group, co-chaired by Türkiye, the OIC General Secretariat, Saudi Arabia, and Gambia, also met at the Ministerial level in New York on September 24, 2018, during the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly.
The Group is continuing its work to finalize an OIC guideline on culturally and locally sensitive mediation and to create a roster of specialists, mediators, and special representatives of the OIC.
In line with its pioneering role on the matter, Türkiye also hosts “İstanbul Mediation Conferences” under the auspices of H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
The 8th İstanbul Mediation Conference was convened on 10 March 2022 with the theme of “Spotlight on Mediation in a Changing Peace Landscape” This year, the Conference was held as a prelude to the Antalya Diplomacy Forum (ADF). This created synergy between the two events and highlighted the importance of peaceful resolution of conflicts in view of the ADF’s broader theme “Recoding Diplomacy”. H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu hosted the High-Level Opening Session of the Conference. He was joined by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs of Kuwait H.E. Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the State of Palestine H.E. Mr. Riad Malki. The Secretaries-General of the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations (UN) addressed the audience with videomessages.
In the first panel, the “Masters’ Stage”, a distinguished group of mediation practitioners drew upon their experiences to discuss lessons they had learned, as well as the important characteristics of both mediators and mediation processes.
The second panel, “Women and Youth in Peace Mediation”, focused on the value of inclusion of women and youth in peace mediation processes. Panelists discussed the current state of inclusion, the ongoing challenges, and the ways and means for overcoming them. They also addressed methods to more effectively engage youth in resolving or preventing conflicts.
The Conference put the spotlight on mediation at a historic moment, as Minister Çavuşoğlu came and addressed the Conference immediately after bringing together the Russian and Ukrainian Foreign Ministers. The timing of the Conference and this gathering reconfirmed Turkey’s role in this field by merging theory and practice.
The Conference can be watched here.
More information on past Conferences and their summary reports can be found at www.istanbulmediation.org
Türkiye initiated another conference series focusing on the OIC in 2017. The OIC Member States Conferences on Mediation have been held three times in coordination with the OIC Secretariat to reinforce the implementation of the resolutions accepted at the Councils of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the OIC.
Information on and summary reports of the OIC Member States Conference on Mediation can be found at www.istanbulmediation.org.
In line with the relevant OIC Resolutions (53/45-POL and 56/46-POL), Türkiye launched the Mediation for Peace Certificate Program intended for junior diplomats from the OIC Secretariat and OIC Member States in 2018.
The second edition of the Program was organized in Ankara on September 9-13, 2019, and brought together young diplomats from OIC Member States and the OIC Secretariat with the representatives from international organizations, as well as scholars working in the field of mediation. In total, 34 young diplomats from the OIC Member States and the Secretariat have participated in the Certificate Program so far. Preparations for the next edition are underway.
On May 19, 2020, ADF co-hosted a webinar with the International Peace Institute (IPI), a prominent think tank based in New York, on “How the Coronavirus Pandemic Affects Conflict Dynamics and Mediation: New Challenges to Peace and Security”.
The event, hosted by H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Türkiye, was joined by high level speakers, including H.E. Pekka Haavisto, Minister For Foreign Affairs of Finland, H.E. Ignazio Cassis, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation, and H.E. Rosemary DiCarlo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. The impact of the pandemic on mediation was thoroughly discussed in what constituted the first online ADF event.
On May 27, 2021, theADF, İstanbul Mediation Conferences, and the newly established Innovation Cell within the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairsorganized a webinar under the theme of “Leveraging New Technologies for Peace in an Increasingly Digital World”.
Türkiye will continue to diversify its efforts in the field of mediation with the aim of making meaningful contributions to the peaceful resolution of international conflicts.