Resolution of Conflicts and Mediation

Resolution of Conflicts and Mediation

Located in a geography affected by active, frozen and potential conflicts, human losses, forced migration, economic destruction, the deterioration of cultural heritage and environment, Turkey pursues the goal of eliminating these. Within this framework, Turkey plays a pioneering role at the global level in raising awareness and creating capacity for mediation, a method of peaceful resolution of conflicts, to achieve sustained peace, stability and prosperity in her neighbourhood and beyond.

Turkey carries out this role with a multi-layered and diverse architecture of initiatives including mediation efforts in the field, co-chairmanship of Groups of Friends at the UN, the OSCE and the OIC, hosting international Mediation Conferences and the “Mediation for Peace” Certificate Programme.

These initiatives of Turkey have gone beyond raising awareness and have resulted in concrete outcomes in the development of mediation as a peaceful method of conflict resolution.

Our Mediation Endeavours in the Field

With this understanding, Turkey has actively worked in recent years for 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 – Istanbul Process” initiative designed to promote regional ownership; constructive efforts for the peaceful resolution of Iran’s nuclear program issue through dialogue; assistance to talks between Somalia and Somaliland and support to the peace process in South Philippines.

The most important experience Turkey has gained in these processes is that each problem has its own dynamics and conditions; and that mediation efforts should be carried out with a view to safeguard such 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 principle-based strategies from the beginning of the process and be able to present a common vision to the parties of a dispute.

Apart from this, earning the trust of parties of a dispute and demonstrating cooperation based on the will of all relevant actors in the process of finding solutions to a conflict are among the most important requirements of a successful mediation attempt. A mediator’s ability to communicate with all parties and to maintain an even-handed attitude - provided that the principles he/she puts forward in the beginning are preserved – are key to success. Communication with all parties to a dispute becomes even more important in situations where a perception of contradiction exists between peace and justice. In this regard, the main duty of a mediator is to strike a balance between these two indispensable values and to introduce a framework for resolution that will not require parties to sacrifice one at the expense of the other.

It is also of crucial importance for a mediator to comply with the confidentiality of the process of delicate negotiations as well as to avoid actions or statements about the process that may compromise the positions of the parties. This requires a certain degree of confidentiality. In cases where there are more than one mediator, such discretion, coordination and leadership become more crucial.

While mediation by a single actor or team is a preferable method under normal conditions, this may not always be possible. Moreover, depending on the nature of the problem, many different actors, including non-governmental organizations might make positive contributions to a mediation process. However, in cases where more than one mediator exists, it is crucial to ensure efficient coordination among actors and to prevent possible abuse of such a circumstance by conflicting parties.

Turkey continues her mediation activities in the light of these general principles.

Our Activities at the UN

The “Mediation for Peace” initiative launched by Turkey 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 resolution adopted on the matter at the UN.

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). Turkey 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 circles.

“Guidance for Effective Mediation” is available here (EK1-TR)

The Group of Friends of Mediation initiated another resolution on the role and importance of regional and sub-regional organisations in mediation in July 2014 (A/68/303). A total of 86 member states co-sponsored the resolution that 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” (GoFoM) reached 60 (52 countries and 8 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 last Ministerial Meeting of the Group was convened in New York on September 26, 2019 during the 74th session of the UN General Assembly with the theme of “New Technologies for Peace and Mediation as Tools for Inclusion: Celebrating the 10th Ministerial Meeting and Looking Ahead”.

The UN GoFoM is continuing to raise awareness on the importance of mediation. Its last meeting was held on 14 December 2020 with the participation of the UN Mediation Support Unit.

In addition to the key UN documents , further information regarding the UN GoFoM can be found here .

Our Activities at the OSCE

Following the success of the initiative at the UN, Turkey, along with Finland and the then Swiss Presidency of the OSCE formed a “Group of Friends of Mediation” (GoFoM) 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.

The OSCE GoFoM is continuing its activities including the meeting hosted by Turkey in January 2019 which focused on the importance of synergy among international and regional organizations in the field of mediation and the meeting hosted by Switzerland in July 2019 on the role of mediation in achieving ceasefires.

The last meeting of the GoFoM, hosted by Turkey, took place on 10 March 2020 and focused on the impact of developments in the international system on negotiators and mediators.

Our Activities at the OIC

The majority of conflicts worldwide take place within the OIC geography. Since her Term Presidency and Executive Committee Chairmanship at the OIC, Turkey 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 Turkey, have been adopted at the 45th (53/45-POL), 46th (56/46-POL) and 47th (55/47-POL) Councils of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the OIC since 2018.

Based on these resolutions, the OIC has established a Contact Group of Friends of 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 Turkey, the OIC General Secretariat, Saudi Arabia and Gambia, also met at the Ministerial level in New York on September 24, 2018 during the 73 rd session of the UN General Assembly.

The Group is continuing its meetings to finalize an OIC document on culturally and locally sensitive mediation and to create a roster of specialists, mediators and special representatives of the OIC.

The latest resolution on “Strengthening the Mediation Capacity of the OIC” (55/47 POL) submitted by Turkey to the 47th Council of Foreign Ministers on November 27-28, 2020 in Niamey, underscored the mediation-related developments within the OIC including the aforementioned issues.

Istanbul Mediation Conferences

In line with her pioneering role on the matter, Turkey also hosts “Istanbul Mediation Conferences” with wide international participation under the auspices of the Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

The first Conference was organized on February, 24-25 2012 with the theme of “Enhancing Peace through Mediation” and focused on conceptual and theoretical issues.

In the second Conference held on April, 11-12 2013 with the theme of “Keys to Effective Mediation: Perspectives from Within”, specific conflict cases were discussed.

The theme of the third Conference on June 26-27, 2014 was “The Increasing Role of Regional Organizations in Mediation” to echo and complement the ongoing discussions at that time leading to the adoption of the third UN General Assembly resolution on mediation.

The fourth edition was held on June 30, 2017 with the theme “Surge in Diplomacy, Action in Mediation”. The article by H.E. Minister Çavuşoğlu published on the occasion of the Conference is available here.

Turkey hosted the fifth Istanbul Mediation Conference on November 30, 2018 with the theme of “Enhancing the Practice of Mediation for Sustaining Peace”. The Conference examined the relationship between sustainable development and mediation, the involvement of women and youth in mediation processes and the impact of digital transformation including big data and artificial intelligence.

The sixth Conference took place on October 31, 2019 with the theme of “International Peace Mediation: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead”. The Conference was inaugurated by His Excellency Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and the Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres while also featuring his High Level Advisory Board on Mediation (HLAB). The conference analysed the role of regional and international organizations in peace and mediation, discussed the current state of play in mediation and peace efforts with the participation of the HLAB members, and evaluated the impact of emerging technologies on peace efforts. The Conference brought together a total of 400 people from 51 countries, attesting to the added value created by Turkey in the field of mediation.

Due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the last conference was held online for the first time. The Secretary General of the United Nations addressed the event for the fourth year in a row. The 7th Istanbul Mediation Conference brought together 20 speakers from 4 continents and 16 countries, including prominent mediators, high-level officials from the United Nations, Organisation for Cooperation and Security in Europe, African Union and Intergovernmental Authority on Development along with renowned academics working in the field of mediation. The whole day event was followed by more than 2.000 viewers and reached approximately 22.000 people. These figures once again proved that the Istanbul Mediation Conference is now a major global platform for discussing peace mediation.

The participants focused on what is happening in conflict areas, if and how the pandemic has affected conflict dynamics and the connection between digitalisation and peacemaking. The conference highlighted that increasing “great power” competition negatively affects mediation efforts and that there is an increase in the number of actors who are involved and/or want to be involved in conflict and peace processes. As a result, the principles of coordination, coherence and complementarity gain particular importance to make mediation efforts more effective. The speakers also noted that the pandemic has not created new conflicts on its own but has rather intensified the already existing trends. Another prominent point was that digitalisation is an inevitable driver affecting both conflicts and peacemaking efforts but human-centric and person-to-person interaction would continue to be at the heart of effective mediation.

The program of the conference can be found here.

A short video on the conference can be found here , while the entire sessions of the conference can be found here.

(Summary Report of the 1st İstanbul Conference on Mediation is available here.) (EK2-EN)

(Summary Report of the 2nd İstanbul Conference on Mediation is available here.) (EK3-EN)

(Programme of the 3rd İstanbul Conference on Mediation is available here.) (EK4-EN)

(Summary Report of the 4th İstanbul Conference on Mediation is available here.) (EK5-EN) 

(Summary Report of the 5th İstanbul Conference on Mediation is available here.) (EK6-EN) 

(Summary Report of the 6th İstanbul Conference on Mediation is available here.) (EK7-EN)

(Summary Report of the 7th Istanbul Conference on Mediation is available here.) (EK8-EN)

OIC Member States Mediation Conferences

Turkey initiated another conference series focusing on the OIC in 2017. The 1st OIC Member States Conference on Mediation (Istanbul, November 21, 2017) was organized in collaboration with the OIC General Secretariat under the theme of “Surge in Mediation: The Role of the OIC”.

(Summary Report of the 1st OIC Member States Conference on Mediation is available here.) (EK9-EN)

The theme of the 2nd OIC Member States Conference on Mediation (Istanbul, November 29, 2018) was “The Implementation of Resolution No: 53/45-POL: Challenges and Opportunities”. The conference was attended by Ambassadors/Permanent Representatives to the OIC, experts and civil society representatives.

(Summary Report of the 2nd OIC Member States Conference on Mediation is available here.) (EK10-EN)

The 3rd OIC Member States Conference on Mediation (Istanbul, November 29, 2019) was held with theme of “Exploring Approaches to Effective Mediation: The Role of Culturally Sensitive Mediation”. The High Representative of the UN Alliance of Civilisations Mr. Miguel Moratinos and the Under-Secretary General of the OIC Mr. Yousefl Al-Dobeay also attended the conference. It attracted wide participation and considerable interest from the OIC geography.

(Summary Report of the 3rd OIC Member States Conference on Mediation is available here (EK11-EN) . Further information regarding the conference is available at www.istanbulmediation.org).

Mediation for Peace Certificate Program

In line with the relevant OIC Resolutions (53/45-POL and 56/46-POL), Turkey 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 21 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 participated in the Certificate Program so far. Turkey will continue with her capacity building and training efforts at the OIC in this field.

Other Activities

On 19 May 2020, the Antalya Diplomacy Forum (ADF) co-hosted a webinar with the International Peace Institute (IPI) 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 Turkey, was joined by high level speakers, including H.E. Pekka Haavisto, Minister of 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.

Turkey will continue and diversify her efforts in the field of mediation with the aim of making meaningful contributions to the peaceful resolution of international conflicts.



(Programme)