Turkish President Abdullah Gül has called on Muslim countries to take more responsibility and offer “their own solutions” for the resolution of the ongoing crisis in Syria, during a meeting of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Gül’s remarks came early on Thursday as he delivered the opening speech of the 29th meeting of the OIC Standing Committee for Economic and Trade Cooperation (COMCEC) in İstanbul.
“If we do not come up with solutions for the problems of the Islamic world, others will impose their own solutions. Putting our house in order is our responsibility before everyone else. If the fire is at our own house, [or] at our neighbor’s house, it is our [responsibility] to put it out before anyone else,” said Gül as he underscored the need for “our own solutions” to problems regarding the Islamic world.
Noting that the ongoing civil war in Syria is causing a nation to “consume itself,” Gül said the member states of the world’s biggest Islamic political bloc bear more responsibility in solving the Syrian conflict.
“Otherwise [if Muslim countries fail to produce their solutions], the consequences will be serious. Therefore, I call on all member states to increase efforts to bring ‘our’ solutions for our problems,” the president added.
Muslim countries have so far not been able to offer plausible solutions for the crisis in Syria that has been continuing for more than two-and-a-half years. Countries supporting the opposition groups fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have been reluctant to take action against the Syrian regime while they press for Western-backed military action in Syria.
Turkey, among the staunch opponents of the Assad’s regime and one of the neighbors increasingly being affected by the spillover effects of the crisis, has also sided with a military strike against the regime that aims to topple it. However, the US and some other Western heavyweights stayed away from airstrikes on the Syrian regime, advocating that a diplomatic solution can still be found.
During his speech, Gül noted that the ongoing political and economic upheavals sweeping the world have also been adversely affecting the Muslim world.
“On the one side, we are faced with problems such as recession, unemployment and poverty, which are caused by the global economic crisis. The crisis causes the gap between the poor and the rich to grow further. On the other side, some parts of the Islamic world are in flames,” Gül maintained.
He added that COMCEC was the “right address” to offer solution for the social and economic problems of the Muslim countries.
The president also called on the economically underdeveloped member states to prepare the ground in their countries in a bid to attract foreign capital. He said structural reforms that would assure political stability and public order will draw more foreign investors to underdeveloped Muslim countries.
Gül also expressed his gratitude for Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the OIC secretary-general whose term in office ends in December, for his efforts in the Islamic bloc.
“He [İhsanoğlu] has made the OIC a far more effective [institution]. He did some valuable work. I extend my thanks to him,” said Gül, ending his speech.