Assessing need for mediation 'crucial': Turkish FM

By Mucahit Turetken

ISTANBUL (AA) – Assessing why mediation is needed in the current environment of conflict is crucial, said Turkey’s foreign minister on Friday.

In a message he sent to the 5th Istanbul Mediation Conference, Mevlut Cavusoglu said: “This assessment is crucial to explore how we can pull resources and make mediation a more effective tool.”

He recalled Thursday’s Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting of the Member States on mediation, and said the same question was asked in the same context.

“Today, the 5th Istanbul Mediation Conference will evaluate the practice of mediation from a wide perspective, including sustainable development, gender and youth inclusion and new technologies,” Cavusoglu said.

The conference convened under the theme of “Enhancing the Practice of Mediation for Sustaining Peace”.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also sent a message to the conference, in which he said: “The enormous suffering caused by armed conflicts underscores our collective responsibility to find solution through peaceful means and heighten our efforts for prevention.”

He added that his high-level advisory board on mediation was working to advance “preventive diplomacy and early action”.

He also urged for more involvement of women and youth in the UN peace processes.

Speaking at the opening of the conference, Burak Akcapar, director-general of policy planning at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, said: “This city [Istanbul] is not only where the east meets west, but it also brings the north and south together as well.”

Touching on Turkey’s efforts in peace initiatives, Akcapar recalled a mediation group at the UN, which was established upon the initiative of Turkey in 2010, “with the aim of raising awareness and developing the normative basis of mediation.”

“Together we’ve been co-chairing the Group of Friends of Mediation at the United Nations, which consists of 49 countries and eight regional and international organizations,” he said.

Stating that the formula of progress lies in innovation and being open-minded, he said: “We must and can do better. Turkey has been playing its part.”