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Turkey resumes mediation mission

13 December 2021 16:55 (UTC+04:00)
Turkey resumes mediation mission

By Trend

The settlement of conflicts not only in the South Caucasus and the Middle East but also in Africa has always been one of the priority directions of Turkey's foreign policy, head of the Foreign Projects Directorate of Trend News Agency Rufiz Hafizoglu said, Trend reports.

Despite the fact that Turkey is one of the important members of NATO, this has never prevented Turkey from having close relations with Russia or China.

After the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) entered the political scene in Turkey in 2001, it was officially announced that one of the directions of the country's foreign policy would be a mediating mission, since Ankara has great potential for this, as well as the opportunity to become a locomotive for the development of the Islamic world.

There has always been an opinion among the political elite of Turkey that it is through the settlement of conflicts and a policy of mediation that Ankara will be able to expand its influence in the region. On the other hand, mediation in the settlement of conflicts, one might say, was the only chance for Turkey to improve its image, since during the Cold War the country was perceived as a participant in a number of conflicts. But even during this period, Ankara still tried to play the role of mediator between Iraq and Iran during the 1980-1988 war, but these attempts were unsuccessful.

Nevertheless, the active phase of the mediation mission took place in Turkey exactly after the AK Party came to power.

It is necessary to cite a number of examples of Ankara's mediation mission in the region. In 2003, after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, Turkey tried to resolve the conflict that had arisen in that country. In the same year, Turkey made numerous attempts to resolve the conflict between Syria and Israel.

In 2005, Turkey took on a mediating mission to resolve the situation between Pakistan and Israel, in 2006 - between Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq, as well as between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran.

In addition, Ankara acted as a mediator between the EU and Iran, Israel and Hamas, Israel and Lebanon, the UK and Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. All of the above missions took place in 2003-2009 period.

Since 2010, Turkey has begun to expand the geography of mediation. Ankara has tried to play an active role in mediation efforts in African countries such as Sudan (2011), Eritrea (2011), Somalia (2013), Mali (2013) and Libya (2014).

It can be said that 2003-2014 was an active phase of Ankara's mediation mission.

“Despite the fact that in recent years Ankara has not made special statements in connection with mediation in the settlement of any conflicts, this does not mean that Turkey has changed one of the priorities in its foreign policy,” he noted.

In early December 2021, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara is ready to contribute to reducing tensions in relations between Russia and Ukraine with their consent, which can be done in the form of mediation or in any other format.

"Ankara opposes further escalation of the situation around Ukraine and stands for the protection of stability in the region. We are ready to make an all-possible contribution to the creation of channels of dialogue in order to reduce the tension that has arisen in recent weeks between Kyiv and Moscow. Turkey is certainly ready to take steps without delay to maintain peace in the region," Erdogan said.

Despite Moscow's statement that Russia is not part of the conflict, the press secretary of the Ukrainian president Sergii Nykyforov said that Ukraine would support any format that would be fruitful in terms of resolving the conflict in the east of the country.

"We are in favor of direct negotiations with Russia. Negotiations with the participation of Turkey are in agreement. The main thing is that it brings practical results," Nykyforov said.

It is too early to talk about how and in what direction the situation will develop between Turkey's two partners - Russia and Ukraine. But the latest statements by Ankara indicate that Turkey is resuming its mediation mission.

Rufiz Hafizoglu

Head of the Foreign Projects Directorate of Trend News Agency

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