A piece of mine as published in Hurriyet Daily News- photos were not included in original publication:
Monday, November 9, 2009
Gathering in Istanbul on Monday, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, or OIC’s, heads of state discussed economic cooperation during the world’s worst economic crisis since the 1930s.
In his opening statements, President Abdullah Gül urged leaders to sign the trade preferential system, or TPS-OIC. “I call upon the distinguished heads of state to once again precipitate the finalization of the signing and ratification process,” he said.
Four countries have so far ratified the proposed TPS-OIC, although at least six more must sign for the measure to pass.
Gül reiterated his support for increasing OIC cooperation, saying, “Turkey’s foreign trade volume with OIC countries increased fivefold during the last eight years. I would like to renew our resolve to maintain this trend.”
Furthermore, Gül said the important commercial and economic relations Turkey has with both the West and the Islamic world are not contradictory.
“The European Union accession process and our participation in the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the OIC support each other,” he said.
Gül offered his congratulations to Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai on his recent election victory and pledged to continue economic support for the war-torn nation.
Karzai requested more support from fellow OIC nations, asking them to “open up markets to Afghan products.” He said the OIC’s 550-million-strong workforce was the organization’s strength.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, meanwhile, stressed the economic failures of capitalism and criticized Western financial systems based on “usury,” urging instead a new economic order based on Islamic models.
“The world, the planet, could witness the positive ramifications of a political system that is based on divine teachings,” he said.
Saturday’s OIC ministerial meetings proposed several other structural measures to facilitate economic cooperation. A report by the OIC’s research council proposed the establishment of an OIC commodities market to be based in Istanbul, Cairo or Dubai. The report also discussed the October agreements between OIC countries that called for the creation of a “Central Banks Association” that would hold annual meetings as well as a chairmanship based on a rotating “troika” system.