Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat-Informed sources within the Organization of Islamic Conference [OIC] have revealed to Asharq al Awsat that the Turkish leadership is at present leading a serious move in coordination with the organization to prepare for holding a regional summit that Istanbul will host on 26 January and will include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, in addition to China. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will take part in it as observers.
The sources said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is visiting Saudi Arabia at present, will meet with OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu today to discuss these preparations and added that this meeting complements noticeable Turkish diplomatic activity and was preceded by the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s official visit to Saudi Arabia and his meeting also with the OIC’s secretary general in early January. The OIC sources attributed the Turkish leaders’ visits and meetings with Ihsanoglu, who is of Turkish origin, to intensive efforts revolving around a joint Turkish, Afghan, Pakistani, and Iranian move in cooperation with the OIC to solve the conflict in Afghanistan.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the OIC secretary general are expected to participate in this regional summit which will be chaired by Turkish President Abdullah Gul. The summit followed a meeting in the Pakistani capital Islamabad last Saturday which was attended by the foreign ministers of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran to discuss the situations in Afghanistan.
The sources stressed that this summit aims to activate the Islamic countries’ role in containing the violent conflict in Afghanistan and discuss the peaceful means for ending the decades-old civil war. They mentioned that the “upcoming summit in Istanbul is aimed at a regional solution for the Afghanistan crisis which involves the countries of the region that are OIC members following the exacerbation of the Afghanistan situation and the shadows of terrorism and extremism it is casting over neighboring countries.” They added that Erdogan’s visit to the OIC for discussion, which follows that of Davutoglu, falls within the context of the desire of Western circles to make room, even partially, for the Muslim world whose auspices ensure more honest and credible guarantees for the warring parties in Kabul.
The sources went on to say that the “leaders of Turkey, Pakistan, and Afghanistan believe there is an urgent need for regional cooperation between these countries so as to emerge from the dark tunnel through which Afghanistan is going.” They pointed to a meeting which Turkish President Gul held with Pakistani President Asif Zardari on the sidelines of the Islamic economic summit, “COMSIC”, on 9 November 2009 during which they discussed the need to find a new dialogue formula for Afghanistan to which member countries concerned with that country’s crisis contribute positively as part of mobilizing efforts to end the civil war in it.