Is it Possible for Turkey to Mediate the Venezuelan Crisis?

All scenarios in the Venezuelan case propose victory or defeat of one side of the conflict. Under current conditions, the U.S. has advantage due to its economic threats. Rather than escalating the conflict via economic and military sanctions, there is a need of implementing alternative conflict resolution mechanisms.

Is it Possible for Turkey to Mediate the Venezuelan Crisis
A group of Venezuelans stage a protest in support of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in front of White House in Washington, United States on January 26, 2019. Anadolu Agency

A couple of weeks ago, the long-lasting conflict between the U.S. and Venezuela reached a deadlock for both sides. Venezuela’s President Maduro has been facing a serious opposition movement, arising from the intractable domestic problems of the country. Since the problems reached an impasse at the end of the day, President Maduro was also exposed to foreign intervention, which was not an exception, as the country’s history is full with externally-led military operations.

The escalation of the conflict between the U.S. and Venezuela also caused further divisions in the international arena. While Turkey, Russia, and China are supporting Maduro, the U.S. and other Western countries accept the opposition leader as Venezuela’s legitimate president. The U.S. imposed new sanctions in order to force Maduro to resign, which, indeed, has the potential to worsen the current economic situation in Venezuela.

Until now, the U.S. has been implementing sanctions targeting the Venezuelan government, but had not restricted running business with Venezuela’s state-led oil company. The recently-announced sanctions, on the other hand, bans private companies and individuals from the U.S. from conducting business with Venezuela’s state-led oil company. Since oil trade is the only option for the Venezuelan government to provide cash, this decision will definitely cause more starvation in the country.

The new sanctions the U.S. has applied on Venezuela ban any kind of trade with the country's state-led oil company. Since oil trade is the only option for the Venezuelan government to provide cash, this decision will definitely cause more starvation in the country.

All scenarios in the Venezuelan case propose victory or defeat of one side of the conflict. Under current conditions, the U.S. has advantage due to its economic threats. Rather than escalating the conflict via economic and military sanctions, there is a need of implementing alternative conflict resolution mechanisms.

At this point, designing an effective international mediation in the Venezuelan case may be a useful way in resolving the conflict. Mediation enables the involvement of a neutral, impartial, or sometimes insider-partial third party in the conflict to facilitate and promote a peaceful resolution. It is a widely-used alternative dispute resolution mechanism in providing win-win outcomes, even in the most conflict and intractable conflicts. A mediator can help the sides to recognize a mutually accepted solution for reaching a more collaborative and constructive peace agreement.  

In the recent conflict in Venezuela, mediation can be a useful way to invent options for mutual gain. Thus, there is a need of a third party for the recognition of objective criteria in resolution of the Venezuelan crisis. It is obvious that Turkey and Brazil can function as respected mediators to reach a peaceful settlement. Both countries conducted mediation efforts in escalated conflicts on both regional and international levels. Turkey has especially taken an active mediation role in the resolution of crises in the Middle East.

There is a need of implementing alternative conflict resolution mechanisms in the Venezuelan crisis. Turkey and Brazil can function as respected mediators to reach a peaceful settlement. Both countries conducted mediation efforts in escalated conflicts on both regional and international levels.

Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also underlined that if there was a need for mediation, Turkey was ready to provide it objectively. Turkey is also trying to create a form of consciousness towards the peaceful resolution of the crisis in the international arena. It is obvious that Turkey’s efforts are crucial for convincing other actors about the necessity of an alternative conflict resolution method in resolving this intractable conflict.

Hazal Duran
Hazal Duran conducted her B.A in the fields of Turkish Language and Literature and International Relations at the TOBB University of Economics and Technology in 2012. She completed her M.A in Modern Turkish Studies at Istanbul Sehir University. While continuing her doctoral studies at Bilkent University, she is currently serving as a Researcher at the SETA Ankara Directorate of Political Studies.