The term "frozen conflict" is misleading considering the recent tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The recent situation in and around Ukraine has shown us (that) the term frozen conflict is misleading. A conflict is a conflict. These are conflicts to which the solutions are frozen," Çavuşoğlu told the 11th ministerial gathering of the U.N. Group of Friends of Mediation.
"Without a negotiated resolution, it can get violent at any moment. We need an increased focus on mediation," Çavuşoğlu underscored at the virtual meeting.
The U.S. and its European allies have warned that Russia is setting the stage for an invasion of Ukraine by positioning over 100,000 troops on its border with the former Soviet republic, as well as significant artillery and tank deployments.
Moscow has denied the claims, saying its troops are there for regular exercises.
On mediation, Çavuşoğlu said the group was instrumental in developing the first comprehensive U.N. guidance for effective mediation in 2012. In a decade, it has grown into "a big family of 61 members," with Malta being the most recent addition, he added.
"Our success at the U.N. inspired the establishment of similar groups at the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) and the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation). Turkey co-chairs these groups as well," he said.
Turkey launched the Mediation for Peace initiative together with Finland at the U.N. in 2010 to raise awareness of the importance of mediation in terms of preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution in the international community, as well as to contribute more resources to mediation efforts.
Çavuşoğlu said that 2 billion people live in conflict-affected countries and that 40% of conflicts in the last 60 years have been over natural resources.
Advances in digital transformation provide opportunities for more impactful mediation, he said, adding that the U.N. Security Council benefits from virtual reality.
Both the challenges and opportunities have changed, the foreign minister said, stressing the need for effective mediation.
"We keep highlighting the importance of inclusion of women and youth in mediation processes," he said, adding that there will be a special section during the 8th Istanbul Mediation Conference, which will be held on March 10.
The conference, which has been organized by the Foreign Ministry since 2012, gathers politicians, diplomats, academics, experts, students and anyone else interested in peace mediation.
The event, which hosts current discussions in the field of mediation, contributes to the field's conceptual framework.