Turkey renews call for closer Muslim cooperation on counter-terrorism

He made the comments at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation summit underway in Istanbul.

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Leaders gathered in Istanbul to discuss the critical issues facing their countries, including terrorism and the humanitarian fall-out from Syria’s civil war.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is an international body that calls itself the collective voice of the Muslim world.

In his opening address Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Islamic and western countries to unite efforts in fighting militant organisations.

“Once again I am calling on the international community to revise their stance on terrorist organisations. We need to combat terrorism by blocking financial support and stopping more people joining the terrorist organisations as well as by carrying operations on the field against them.”

Among attendees at the two-day summit are the Saudi King and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whose countries have opposing positions on the Syria and Yemen conflicts.

Prominent absentees include Jordan’s King Abdullah and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Turkey’s foreign minister says the summit is being held at a time when the Islamic world is experiencing many disputes within itself.

Turkey has long pressed for closer regional cooperation in tackling terrorism as its army and security forces battle Kurdish militants.

Professor Foad Izadi, from the University of Tehran, has told Press TV the main problem the world faces isn’t necessarily terrorism, but corruption among leaders.

“The problem of terrorism and extremism is very much related to this. When you have corrupt leaders you will have individuals which in these countries resort to terrorism and to advance political goals.”

Also on the agenda at the summit is the humanitarian crisis that’s seen millions of people flee to Europe.

Turkey hosts 2.7 million Syrian refugees and recently entered a controversial deal with the European Union aimed at curbing illegal migration.

President Erdogan says Muslim countries should be ashamed that so many people are risking their lives on dangerous voyages.

“The fact that almost all of those who try to reach Europe – in the Mediterranean, in the Aegean, in boats and dilapidated ships – are Muslims is a source of shame for us. If these, whose numbers are expressed as millions, have been left with no choice but to embark on such voyages at the cost to their lives, we need to sit down together and think about it.”

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman has told Euronews it’s important leaders take responsibility for what she labels the tyranny that’s caused so many to flee.

“We’re asking those taking part in the summit for clear efforts to fight tyranny, corruption and terrorism. Because terrorism results from tyranny and corruption is the consequence of a lack of democracy, human rights and development.”

Other issues to be discussed during the summit include the Palestinian territories, Libya and the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, which has been the scene of renewed violence between Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces.