Turkey and Norway support each other on the global scene for mediation and peace efforts against crises.
“Turkey will continue to work with friendly nations like Norway and international organizations to achieve regional and global peace,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday.
“I usually make some analogy between international crises and earthquakes,” Davutoglu explained at an academic conference on international mediation. “Earthquakes weaken the columns of buildings, mediation is the best effort to restore these buildings.”
During the conference, which hosted Norwegian academicians and Foreign Minister Borge Brende in Turkish capital Ankara, both foreign ministers addressed the audience on their countries’ efforts to mediate crises around the world over years.
“After the cold war, Turkey and Norway have a close cooperation as two rising soft powers in different places, like Somalia and other places,” said Davutoglu.
“Psychological barriers are the main obstacles in front of mediation. Without proper psychological preparation, you cannot make a success out of the process,” he noted in adding that the Arab uprisings caused many countries to face domestic troubles in the region so that the main target of mediation should concentrate on helping national conciliation in the region.
Turkey and Norway work closely on the Somali conciliation process, said Davutoglu. “This March, for the first time after 20 years, the presidents of Somalia and Somaliland came together in Ankara and started to work on the Ankara process to reintegrate them.”
Somaliland, a self-declared state, announced its independence from Somalia in 1991 following the collapse of the central government after the Somalia Civil War.
Also touching on the Syria issue, Davutoglu said Turkey not only started unilateral talks with the Syrian regime but also supported global initiatives in the wake of the Syrian crisis.
“If somebody is killing civilians indiscriminately by artillery, by air bombardment and by chemical weapons, it is difficult to mediate with such a partner,” he noted.
More than 100,000 people have been killed in the more than two years of conflict in Syria and over two million Syrians are now registered as refugees in neighboring countries,Turkey. Lebanon and Iraq, according to the UN.
“Cooperation between Turkey and Norway, with different geopolitical backgrounds can often play a role,” said Brende, adding, “As an influential powerful regional player, Turkey can act as a peace broker, whereas Norway can only be a facilitator.”
“There is broad political consensus in Norway on our peace engagement,” noted Brende. “Norway invests $5 million dollars annually on peace research for itself, but also for making an impact on peace reconciliation processes.”