Resolution of Conflicts and Mediation

Resolution of Conflicts and Mediation

Located in a geography affected by active, frozen and potential conflicts, Türkiye 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 its neighbourhood and beyond.

Türkiye 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 Program.

Our Mediation Endeavours in the Field

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; 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 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.

Apart from this, earning the trust of parties in 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 is 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.

Türkiye continues its mediation activities in light of these general principles.

Our Activities at the UN

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 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). 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 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 86member states co-sponsored the resolution, 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 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 GoF is continuing to raise awareness on the importance of mediation. Its last meeting was held on December 14, 2020, with the participation of the UN Mediation Support Unit. In addition to the key UN documents, further information regarding the UN GoF can be found here.

Our Activities at the OSCE

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 and created additional visibility to the activities of the group.

Our Activities at the OIC

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) 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 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.

İstanbul Mediation Conferences

In line with its pioneering role on the matter, Türkiye also hosts “İstanbul 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”.

Türkiye hosted the fifth İstanbul 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 H.E. 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 Türkiye 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 İstanbul Mediation Conference brought together 20 speakers from four continents and 16 countries, including prominent mediators, high-level officials from the United Nations, the Organisation for Cooperation and Security in Europe, the African Union, and the 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 İstanbul 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 peace-making. 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 peace-making 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.

“İstanbul Conferences on Mediation” bring together experts and practitioners and embody a significant platform for the exchange of knowledge and practice in mediation. Further information regarding the conference is available at www.istanbulmediation.org.

(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)

(Program 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 İstanbul Conference on Mediation is available here.) (EK8-EN)

OIC Member States Mediation Conferences

Türkiye initiated another conference series focusing on the OIC in 2017. The first OIC Member States Conference on Mediation (İstanbul, 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 First OIC Member States Conference on Mediation is available here (EK9-EN).)

The theme of the Second OIC Member States Conference on Mediation which took place in İstanbul on 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 third OIC Member States Conference on Mediation organized in İstanbul on 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. Yousef Al-Dobeay also addressed 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).)

Mediation for Peace Certificate Program

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. Türkiye will continue with its capacity building and training efforts at the OIC in this field.

Other Activities

On May 19, 2020, the Antalya Diplomacy Forum (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, the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, İstanbul Mediation Conferences, and the newly established Innovation Cell within the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) organized 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.



(Programme)