News / Middle East

Turkey Seeks to Be International Mediation Center

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (file photo)
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (file photo)
Dorian Jones

The Turkish foreign minister is seeking to make Istanbul a center for mediation in resolving international crises.  The initiative comes as Ankara seeks to resolve the conflict in Syria and tensions over Iran's nuclear energy program.

“Enhancing Peace through Mediation: New Actors, Fresh Approaches, Bold Initiatives," was the title for a recent gathering of foreign ministers, past and present, and leading academics.

The conference in Istanbul was part of an initiative in cooperation with Finland to establish Istanbul as an international mediation center.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the architect of the initiative, says his country is ideally placed.

"Why is it so important for Turkey, we are right at the center of all these earthquakes, in geo-political earthquakes from Balkans to Central Asia.  Turkey is right at the center.  And all of the crises were directly or indirectly, historically and culturally, were related to Turkey," he said.

The initiative has a threefold approach; raising awareness of the importance of mediation, increasing mediation capacity within the United Nations and on a regional level, and for Turkey to enhance its role within its own region.  The initiative has the strong support of the president of the U.N. General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.  Addressing the meeting in Istanbul, he said there is need for a more regional approach to resolve crises.

"The significant and increasing role of regional and sub-regional arrangements, it is all natural that these organizations know and better understand, the situation on the ground in their own regions.  The United Nations should therefore support regional actors and initiatives with a view to finding lasting solutions to disputes," Nassir said.

The ongoing bloodshed in Syria was very much in the forefront of the minds of those attending the meeting.  Turkey, which shares a 900-kilometer border with Syria, is taking a leading diplomatic role in seeking an end to the fighting.  Critics have said Ankara has failed to influence Damascus.  But Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal says they are still working for a diplomatic solution.

"Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, we have been trying to solve this issue by diplomatic means and we will continue these efforts, and of course since bloodshed continues we cannot stay idle to that situation.  The Arab League efforts failed, the U.N. Security Council resolution failed, that is why we have initiated a series of diplomatic efforts, which culminated in the Tunis meeting," Unal said.

The Tunis meeting, under the label "Friends of Syria," brought together countries supporting the Syrian opposition.  Political observers say the meeting achieved few tangible results, but next month Istanbul will host a second meeting.

Istanbul is also to be the venue of an international gathering on the region's other major crisis - Iran's controversial nuclear energy program.

Last year, Turkey's vote in the Security Council against U.N. sanctions on Iran strained relations with its Western allies.  But since then Ankara has come back into the fold by agreeing to participate in a NATO anti-missile defense system primarily aimed at countering Iran, and by its robust opposition to Damascus, a key ally of Tehran.

An international relations expert for the Turkish newspaper Haberturk, Soli Ozel, says despite strained relations with Iran, Turkey remains a dialogue partner for Tehran.

"Well basically shows no matter what your feelings are about Turkey it has to be part of any solution in Syria, for instance.  But it may be the solution that the Turks prefer, and Iran as well.  Iran still needs Turkey's good offices and it is the only country that really really tries very hard for a diplomatic solution.  And Iranians believe they can trust Turks more because we are so dependent on them on gas and stuff like that," Ozel said.

The mediation initiative by Turkey seeks to formalize the growing diplomatic role the country is carving out for itself in a region that is facing increasing instability and crisis.

You May Like

Kurdish President: More Needed to Defeat Islamic State

In interview with VOA's Persian Service, Massoud Barzani says peshmerga forces have not received weapons, logistical support needed to successfully fight IS in northern Iraq More

Sierra Leone's Stray Dog Population Doubles During Ebola Crisis

Many dog owners fear their pets could infect them with the virus and have abandoned them, leading to the increase and sparking fears of rabies More

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

New methods for mapping pain in the brain not only validate sufferers of chronic pain but might someday also lead to better treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs