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Broadening the Nongovernmental Humanitarian Mission: The IHH and Mediation

The IHH delivers relief aid to 140 countries worldwide. Quite recently, as a novel humanitarian practice, the IHH has begun acting as a mediator in intra-state conflicts and even accumulated considerable experience in it. In the Bangsamoro peace process, for instance, the IHH was invited to play a mediator role as part of the internationally crewed Third Party Monitoring Team. Similarly, the IHH has been called upon to play mediatory roles in resolving kidnapping incidents in Syria and Pakistan, and has done so by negotiating with armed groups for the release of kidnapped and captive civilians. This paper, therefore, aims to explore the dynamics of and the motivations behind the IHH’s extension of its international humanitarian mission beyond providing relief and to examine the place of such civilian mediator role in the broader humanitarian turn in Turkey’s contemporary foreign policy.

Broadening the Nongovernmental Humanitarian Mission The IHH and Mediation
The photo shows a young boy hugging one of the volunteers of the IHH as distribute aid packages consisting of basic foodstuffs such as flour and oil to the students of Qur’anic courses in Chad. AA PHOTO / ORHAN ÇİÇEK
 

Introduction

The Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), Turkey’s top nongovernmental humanitarian organization by aid volume in 2011 and 2013, and the second in 2012,1 today delivers relief to 140 countries worldwide. The delivered aid varies from the fight against hunger to opening medical clinics, providing vocational education to women, and providing shelter and psychological support to orphans. However, quite recently, the IHH has begun channeling its operational capabilities and motives to fields beyond delivering humanitarian relief;

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