20 October 2017, Istanbul-Turkey
Welcome Statement by the President of the Republic of Turkey at the 9th D-8 Summit on 20 October 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey

Honourable Heads of States and Governments,
Esteemed Ministers,
Distinguished Secretary General,
Distinguished Representatives of International Institutions,
I most sincerely welcome you all while opening the 9th D-8 Summit Meeting.


I would like to welcome all our guests to Turkey and Istanbul.

I am very pleased to host 7 respectable members of the D-8 Organisation which is represented around three continents in beautiful Istanbul with 7 hills that unite continents, cultures and hearts.

At the very beginning of my words, I would like to pay tribute to Late Prime Minister Prof. Dr. Necmeddin Erbakan who led the establishment of the D-8 Organisation during the gloomy atmosphere of 1997. May he rest in peace. 

I would like to express my gratitude for all our friends who have served for the D-8 and struggled to ensure its growth and strength for the last 20 years.

I would like to thank you all as our distinguished brothers and guests who are among us today on the occasion of this anniversary which is extremely significant for our country and D-8. 

I hope we achieve the best outcomes from our meeting held in such a painful period in terms of global and regional developments.

Hopefully, today, we will jointly address the headlines of our agenda and draw the roadmap for the future as well as the examination of the past.

Our purpose is prosperity and hopefully, the outcome will also be prosperous. 

May Allah grant us  the best faith and may our efforts result in good.

My Beloved Brothers,

I am sure that you all remember the fundamental principles and values on which the D-8 was built 20 years ago.

These principles are also represented in  6 stars placed on D-8 flag. 

While we were founding this organisation, we aimed for peace to replace war; dialogue to replace conflict and justice and development to replace double standard.

We imagined that equality instead of superiority; sharing instead of exploitation; human rights, freedom and democracy instead of oppression and domination would overcome. 

The developments which have occurred around the world for the past 20 years indicate that our worries at that time were rightful.
We have witnessed together how much trauma the wars, terrorist actions, economic crises and natural disasters have caused in recent years.

We have personally witnessed the suffering of our friends from Afghanistan to Iraq, from Libya to Syria, from Arakan to Indonesia and Nigeria.

The current global system which was founded following the Second World War and was solidified after the Cold War made nobody happy except for a happy little minority, whose interests are guaranteed. 

We have managed to reach today after many economic crises which have been repeated in almost every 10 years.
In a world where so much production is made, so much richness exists, our brothers in Africa can’t even meet their most basic needs.

Global injustice has not decreased; it has increased so much more. 

We are going through a downswing when terrorist threat spreads without accepting any boundaries or distances; but despite that, there is a differentiation between “the good terrorist” and “the bad terrorist”. 

In addition to that, some purposefully try to identify “Islam” with “terrorism” and “Muslims” with “terrorists”.

The murders commited by the gang of killers like Boko Haram, DAESH, FETO, Al Shabab have become the sources of their Islamaphoia. 

Everybody whose colour, language, religion, ethnicity are different is marginalised over the issue of immigration and refugees; they become the targets of the attacks and discriminatory policies. 

Instead of putting a lid on the despair, hunger and poverty, which turned the Mediterranean into a graveyard for refugees, the main topic of discussion is sinking of the boats and leaving people to their death for combating irregular immigration.

Dear brothers and sisters,
The lesson we need to get from this situation is this:
The need for the principles and values of D-8 has not decreased, on the contrary, it has further increased.

Because D-8 is not a community of countries meeting merely around their interests; beyond that, it is the embodiment of the demand for a just, peaceful and stable world.

We, as D-8 members, are blessed with unique geographical privileges, which are granted to very few countries.

We predominate three continents.

We have rich natural resources, and the most important of all, a young and dynamic population, constituting approximately one-seventh of the world population.

The average per capita national income of our country, which was 1820 USD when we founded D-8, has now exceeded 4500 USD.

Our annual growth rate surpassed that of several Western countries, and now it is around 6%.

We established sectoral cooperation in many areas, ranging from trade to industry, and from tourism to energy and transportation.

However, we encounter various problems in using our full potential.

Within the context of facilitating trade, we consider it very important for the Agreements of Visa Facilitation Agreements, Customs and Preferential Trade to be signed and come into force.

Inshallah, we believe that our internal trade volume of D-8 will exceed 500 billion USD, which is currently around 100 billion USD, if all these agreements are approved and implemented by all member states.

Considering that our total economic size is 3 trillion 770 billion USD and our population is 1.1 billion, it is clear that even these levels are not sufficient for us.

We can start joint production projects in many areas, particularly in defence industry.

We have a great potential for cooperation that we can establish in various areas, ranging from good agricultural practices to clean energy, from transportation to environment and education.

For this reason, we need to be aware of our inadequacies, update ourselves according to today’s needs and take steps that will pave the way for faster decision making processes.

In this ever-changing world, it is definitely not acceptable for D-8 to stand idle, without making any progress.

I believe we need to strengthen our organization with new members and by creating new partnerships.

Within the scope of decision-making mechanisms, we should be able to benefit from the opportunities such as qualified majority, instead of unanimity.

Because the existing system causes deadlocks and it is a waste of time and energy.

If we can carry the Project Support Fund into effect as soon as possible, we can transform D-8 into a more effective, efficient and project-oriented organization.

If we can find a way to use our national currencies for trade between our countries, this revolution will leave a mark in the history of D-8.

For this purpose, during the course of our Chairmanship, we are planning to bring our Central Banks together to establish a Clearing House.

As D-8 member states, we should increase the level of participation in the meetings, and include private sector institutions in our works.

All of us should protect D-8, and show maximum effort in order for it to be more effective, more efficient and stronger.

With these considerations, before I finish my speech, I would like to thank Pakistan, which has conducted the chairmanship of D-8 successfully and patiently until now.

I congratulate Secretary-General Mousavi and all his personnel, and may Allah bring success to Jaafar Ku Shaari, the selected Secretary-General of the Organization of D-8, who is here with us today.

I thank you all for your participation, and salute your delegation with amity and respect.

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