Turkey, Iran, Qatar gather for major Islamic forum in Malaysia

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Thursday gathered at Kuala Lumpur Summit organised by Malaysia.

Erdoğan said that he hoped the summit will contribute to the unity of the Muslim community and strengthen its solidarity and the UN Security Council’s five permanent members, China, France, the Russian Federation, Britain, and the United States, no longer hold the fate of Muslims in their hands, Hürriyet daily reported.

"The world is bigger than five," Erdoğan said. 

He also said he would continue supporting the struggles of Muslim communities around the world despite political and economic pressure.

“As they try to silence Turkey, we insist on calling attention to Palestine, Gaza, the Rohingya, Libya, Somalia and Syria,” Erdoğan said.

He also slammed the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), accusing the organisation of not taking concrete steps regarding the quandaries of the Muslim world.

“We still haven’t made any progress regarding the Palestinian cause, we still can’t stop the exploitation of our resources, we still can’t say ‘stop’ to the fragmentation of the Muslim world over sectarianism, that’s why,” said Erdogan.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia snubbed the meeting because it was not held under the Saudi-based OIC. Pakistan also withdrew from the conference in a move to assuage its ally, Saudi Arabia.

Muslim countries underperform in areas from trade to foreign policy and defence industry, Erdoğan said, urging Islamic countries to boost cooperation to overcome challenges.

Erdoğan also said that there are almost four million Syrian refugees residing in Turkey, and that another 500,000 Syrians could flee last rebel-held enclave of Idlib due to a Syrian regime offensive that is backed by Iran and Russia.

"We already have four million people and now another 50,000 are coming and this may increase", Al Jazeera quoted Erdoğan as saying.

Ankara took control of an area between two Syrian border towns of Ras al Ayn and Tel Abyad during the operation, and aims to create what it calls a safe zone to resettle al least 1 million of Syrian asylum seekers, over 3.6 million of whom are currently residing in Turkey.

And, Erdoğan has been seeking financial support from Western countries for his project that his government would build houses with gardens for Syrian refugees free of charge. However, he could not secure any aid yet.

Muslims account for 94 percent of worldwide conflict with one out of three arms sold globally finding its way to the Middle East, Erdoğan said, “The Muslims are using their resources for armament and for conflict and while doing so they are enriching the Western arm dealers.”

"Is the Muslim world that poor? Why don't they support this?" he said.

"Even if they just gave their alms, there would no poverty here, no have-nots."

Intellectuals, politicians and leaders of Muslim communities around the world participates in the summit, themed "The Role of Development in Achieving National Sovereignty" and will hold discussions on national development and sovereignty, integrity and good governance, culture and identity, justice and freedom, peace, security and defence, trade and investment; and technology and Internet governance for three days.

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