Fighting terrorism was top of the agenda at the Islamic Summit as more than 30 leaders of the Muslim world gathered in Istanbul.
It was notable for the attendance of the Saudi King and Iranian President, who support opposing sides in conflicts in Yemen and Syria. Both countries have accused the other of funding terrorism and creating tensions in the Middle East. The Turkish President hoped the summit would work towards unifying forces, and proposed the creation of a body to combat terrorism, saying, “instead of waiting for other forces to intervene against terror attacks and other crises that occur in Muslim countries, we must produce the solution ourselves through the Islamic alliance.”
Security is tight at the summit venue following two terror attacks in the city earlier this year.
Aside from terrorism, the overriding theme was unity, something Prof Dr. Ragıp Kutay Karaca from Gelişim Üniversitesi says requires wide-ranging changes.
“There must be a transformation here. This can only be done through more democracy and welfare. The Arab world sits on rich natural sources. They have incredible oil and gas resources. But who is managing it, who is refining it, who is making energy policies? The West. If you don’t have a consensus then you have to solve each problem in the Islamic world according to the parameters of the West.”
The two-day summit is also expected to deal with developments in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Euronews correspondent Bora Bayraktar in Istanbul sums up:
“Discussions took place in an atmosphere of self criticism. Having Iranian and Saudi leaders around the same table, and the Egyptian Foreign Minister in Turkey showed that the Islamic World would at least try to keep communication channels open.”