Turkey is set to host the 7th Istanbul Mediation Conference on Sept. 17 with the attendance of high-level representatives of international organizations.

With its efforts in recent years, Turkey has become a brand in peaceful resolution of disputes and field of mediation — which is one of the peaceful solutions for the international problems and included in the UN Charter — with its works on “awareness and capacity building.”

Turkey, which maintains the role it assumed with a multi-layered and comprehensive manner, contributes to the field of mediation in both theoretical and practical frameworks.

7th Istanbul Mediation Conference

The seventh session of the conference, which was first held in 2012 with the attendance of domestic and foreign experts in their fields, is slated for Thursday in Istanbul.

The conference will be launched by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and it will bring together high-level representatives of international organizations as well as world-renowned people in the field of mediation.

Among the attendees will be former UN special envoys, including Ghassan Salame, Staffan de Mistura and Alvaro de Soto, high-level representatives from the UN, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and William Zartman, an expert in mediation.

At the conference, the challenges faced by people working in the field of peace since the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic will be discussed, and how the outbreak will affect the dynamics of conflict will be addressed thoroughly.

Comprising of three main panels, current situation in conflict regions, post-pandemic conflict and peace dynamics, and the relation between digitalization and peacebuilding will be among the topics to be discussed at the meeting.

Due to the restrictions to stem the spread of COVID-19, this year’s meeting will be held online and broadcast live on YouTube, which is a first for the conference.

The virtually organized event is in harmony with the spirit of the Digital Diplomacy initiative announced by Cavusoglu on the occasion of the 11th Ambassadors Conference held last year.

– Assembling all interested in mediation for peace

Organized by the Turkish Foreign Ministry since 2012, the Istanbul Mediation Conference gather politicians, diplomats, academics, experts, students, and anyone interested in mediation for peace.

The event, where the contemporary discussions in the field of mediation are held, contributes to the conceptual framework of the field.

Conferences held to date touched on the effects of digital transformation on the dynamics of conflict focusing on various cases, the need for coordination and complementarity in the field of mediation, the role of regional and international organizations in mediation, the relationship between sustainable development and peace, and the importance of inclusiveness in the field of mediation.

The conferences also contributed to the development of mediation capacity within the UN, OSCE and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In this regard, the success of the conferences led to a similar conference that is organized by Turkey for the OIC since 2017.

– Mediation initiatives in international organizations

Turkey launched the Mediation for Peace initiative together with Finland at the UN in 2010 to make the importance of mediation in terms of preventive diplomacy and solution of conflicts more visible in the international community and to have more labor and resources allocated to the mediation efforts.

This initiative provided considerable attention and support to mediation and the number of members of the Group of Friends of Mediation has reached 60, including 52 countries and eight international and regional organizations, including the UN.

The success of Turkey’s initiative at the UN led to the establishment of similar groups within the OIC and OSCE.

In this regard, Turkey comes forward as the only country which has a co-chair position in all three groups.

* Writing by Sena Guler

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