Turkey hosts Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit

Turkey will be hosting a summit of Organization of Islamic Conference in Istanbul. This will be an expression of Turkey’s emergence as a major player in the Middle East which was part of Ottoman Empire before its break up after First World War. The summit will be attended by many heads of state including King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and President Mamnoon of Pakistan. Notable absentees will be King of Jordan Abdullah and President of Egypt Al-Sisi. Jordan has disagreements with Turkey over political solution to Syrian crisis while Egyptian President blamed Turkey for interference in their internal affairs when he overthrew elected President Mohammad Morsi. Egypt has decide to send its foreign minister to the summit to be present to express its goodwill not for Turkey but Saudi king. The conference will be attended by 30 heads of state and government making it a major event.

Iran’s Hassan Rouhani has said upcoming Istanbul Summit of the OIC should communicate to the world signals of unity among the member states.

The summit will also address the current situation in Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia, Mali, Jammu and Kashmir, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Armenia’s attacks against Azerbaijan, alongside other Islamic countries in conflict.

President Erdogan received King Salman at the airport and their good relations will be focus of the summit. King Salman will stay for five days to discuss bilateral issues apart from participating in the OIC summit. Turkey and Saudi Arabia have aligned their strategic positions in many regional crisis including Syria, Libya and Iraq. It is expected that two leaders will discuss security, economic and cultural ties between the two countries. King Salman is expected to resolve the issues between Turkey and Egypt which are two important allies for the Kingdom. Turkey is part of the anti-terrorist military alliance developed by Saudi Arabia whose command center is being built in Riyadh.

Pakistan and Turkey enjoy good bilateral relations but have lacked formalization of its security and economic alignment. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was expected to attend the OIC summit but at the last minute changed his plan. President Mamnoon will be attending OIC summit in place of PM Nawaz who is going to London for a medical check-up. On his way to London PM Nawaz made an unannounced stop at Moscow which could be related to bridging the divide between Turkey and Russia after one of its fighter jet was shot down during Syrian air operation by Turkey.

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