Erdoğan: OIC in need of reform for more effective advocacy of Muslim world


The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s structure should be reformed to increase effectiveness in tackling the issues of the Muslim world as with the case of the Palestinian struggle, President Erdoğan has said

he Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) needs to be more effective in protecting issues important to the Islamic world, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, specifying that the OIC was founded for Jerusalem. Speaking to journalists during his flight back to Turkey at the conclusion of his visits to Sudan, Chad and Tunisia, Erdoğan said there may be a need to reform the OIC at a time when a more effective institution is necessary to be mobilized to protect Jerusalem. The U.S. decision earlier this month to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem created uproar in the Islamic world, with Turkey holding an OIC summit in Istanbul on Dec. 13, before sponsoring a U.N. General Assembly vote on the matter.

Concerning the OIC summit in Istanbul, Erdoğan said the attendance level from Islamic countries was satisfactory, but officials who came from members of the Arab League were of too low a level. “Some countries could very well have sent higher level officials to the OIC summit in Istanbul. It was upsetting to see some Arab League members just going through the motions concerning a summit on Jerusalem.” He said over 50 countries had attended the summit, with most sending parliamentary speakers, foreign ministers and other senior officials. “For example, Saudi Arabia sent its Islamic affairs minister. It is, of course, important, but still, a more senior official could have been sent.”

The praised the summit for agreeing to back east Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and rejecting the U.S. decision. The OIC has to become a force in the international arena, the president argued, citing the non-aligned bloc as an example.

He commended the OIC and the EU especially for their principled backing of Turkey’s U.N. General Assembly resolution on Jerusalem despite a few slips. “Still they backed the process. Now, we need to think and plan to advance on the matter of Jerusalem to settle on a strategy.”

When asked whether a core number of Islamic countries should organize an alternative structure, Erdoğan objected. “If we narrow our aims, we will miss out. For example, Indonesia is the largest member, population wise. Such an important country cannot be ignored. Each and every member of the OIC is important in its own way. What needs to be done is to think hard on how to make the OIC a more active agency with real international clout.”


Erdoğan said he believed Turkey’s economic growth in 2017 would surpass 7 percent, and that it “will be a strong introduction to 2018.”

He said the government focus will be on investment and resource diversification through public-private partnership and the build-operate-transfer model.

He also said public funds will be used for projects crucial for growth.

“Another issue we need to settle on is the interest rate,” Erdoğan argued, adding that if rates remained elevated, growth will suffer.

“If we want the private sector to invest, we need to take steps that help them with credit interests.”

The government’s tight fiscal policy will continue in 2018, but this will not mean decreasing investment in education or health, he said. “Also, there will be considerable investment in energy, which will necessitate almost no public funds. The private sector is taking the lead in energy investments, especially in solar and hydropower.”

The S-400 missile defense system deal will be in rubbles, and Russian officials will be coming to Ankara on Friday to conclude the credit agreement, he said. “This will be the first time we will be signing a loan agreement in rubles and not the dollar. It will be cheaper.”


Erdoğan said this was his first visit to Tunisia as president, noting that his previous visits in 2011 and 2013 were as the prime minister. Since the toppling of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in the Jasmine Revolution, Turkey has granted Tunisia $300 million in credits in addition to a still unused $300-million Eximbank credit.

Turkey has been fully behind Tunisia since the revolution, Erdoğan said, supporting the new government through thick and thin.

He said the business forum was attended by more than 200 businessmen from Turkey. “The economy ministers of both countries made a speech. While I can’t say we made as much progress as we did in Chad or Sudan, I can say we have taken steps to advance commercial ties.”

Turkey and Tunisia will be cooperating to eliminate the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), undertaking joint defense projects and cultural exchanges, Erdoğan said.

When asked about the U.S. trial of Hakan Atilla, deputy general manager of Halkbank, Erdoğan said the trial shows that Atilla is not guilty, which he believed would be corroborated by the jury.

“It appears the jury has postponed their decision until after Jan. 3. It is, of course, strange for Atilla to be arrested on his seventh trip to the U.S. after six uneventful trips.

On the continued presence of PKK terrorist organization-linked groups in Syria’s Afrin region, Erdoğan said Turkey could not allow the matter to fester. He said talks are continuing with all parties, adding that military moves against PKK-linked terrorist groups in Syria could come at any moment.

Source: Daily Sabah


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