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Turkey as a humanitarian actor: the critical cases of Somalia and Syria 17 mars 2015

Posted by Acturca in Middle East / Moyen Orient, Turkey / Turquie.
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NOREF Report (Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre) March 2015

By Pinar Tank *

The rise of new powers has made its mark on the fields of humanitarianism, mediation and peacebuilding. As an aspiring middle power, Turkey has undertaken a growing engagement with the humanitarian field over the past decade, introducing new methodologies and practices. One such concept is that of humanitarian diplomacy, which merges national interests and norms in the formulation of humanitarian policy. Turkey’s humanitarian engagement first gained international interest after then-prime minister Erdoğan visited Somalia in 2011, refocusing international attention on the conflict there. Somalia remains one of Turkey’s largest humanitarian commitments, where Turkey’s effort is noted for its holistic approach and ability to deliver to beneficiaries on the ground. Closer to home, the Syrian crisis has been a greater challenge for its risks to Turkey’s internal stability and the mass influx of refugees. In 2012 Turkey was ranked the fourth-largest humanitarian donor, and in acknowledgement of its engagement, it will host the first World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. This report examines the dynamics behind the country’s commitments as a humanitarian actor and compares the two critical cases of Somalia and Syria, observing them as proactive versus reactive instances of humanitarian policy.

* Pinar Tank is a senior researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo.

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