Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

“21 of 48 least developed countries in the world Islamic”

22.11.2017 / İstanbul

TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu attended the 33rd Meeting of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation held at the Istanbul Convention Center.​

Hisarcıklıoğlu said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has always put importance on the problems of Islamic countries like our brothers and sisters who suffered from the hardships in Somali and Arakan, especially Palestine. He has been one of the greatest contributors to the efforts to increase cooperation and solidarity within the Islamic world.”


Stating that President Erdoğan puts emphasis on the development of the Islamic world and the importance of the private sector to increase the prosperity, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “We have had great support for our endeavors. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to our President on behalf of the business community of the Islamic world.”


The TOBB president said that the economic and political balances had changed and that the new global era was experiencing the painful consequences that the Islamic world must be able to read the transformation well.


“We should criticize ourselves in this process as well,” Hisarcıklıoğlu continued, “We are sitting on a tremendous treasure as Islamic countries. According to SESRIC data, about a quarter of the world's population is composed of Islamic countries. 69% of the world's oil reserves and 57% of the world's natural gas reserves are in Islamic countries. What's more, we are on top of all the world's trade and energy corridors. But unfortunately, despite all of these advantages, our share of world wealth is only 12%. The USA alone has 25% of world wealth and 15% of China. 57 Islamic countries can’t reach this.”


Hisarcıklıoğlu pointed out that 21 of the least developed 48 countries of the world are Islamic countries, “There is a big gap among ourselves, as well. Between the richest Islamic countries and the poorest, there is a difference of more than 100 times. You do not have to look elsewhere for the reason for all this. The warnings of our faith are very clear: 'Grace and prosperity in unity; anguish in dissent.' We do not have unity, and no blessing for it. Now we have to change this situation- strengthen our brotherhood.”


Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that this is the most important way of trade as well, and that more than half of the developed countries' trade is done with their close neighbors.


Referring to the fact that Islamic countries conduct only 20% of their international trade with each other, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “Of course, this figure is gradually increasing every year. But we are still far below our potential. We have to act quickly. The most important issue here is that the Preferential Trade Agreement should be passed on as soon as possible. The preferential trade agreement is the first step in economic cooperation. That is reduced customs tariffs for certain products. But we have difficulty even taking this step.”


TOBB President stated that 13 of the 57 countries have signed TPS-OIC and that they have been approved by 10 countries but they have not been put into practice since the concession lists have not been updated and they are waiting for the Islamic countries to take the necessary steps to implement the agreement as soon as possible.


Noting that another important issue is visa applications, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “In our culture, brothers and sisters do not need a visa to visit each other's house. But here we keep putting an obstacle between each other. Let's not forget that when people go in and out of the country they trade with countries they can reach easily. With the leadership of our President, Turkey has taken important steps in this area. As an Islamic business community, we look forward to facilitating at least the visa application for businessmen among Islamic countries.”


Hisarcıklıoğlu also addressed the rapid resolution of commercial problems and added, “We are members of a religion who say that even delayed justice is injustice. The business world also invests in countries where it believes that problems will be solved fairly and quickly. This is the rule of trade. For this reason, the issue of joint arbitration is very important to us.


We have initiated the necessary work for the establishment of the Joint Arbitration Center in Istanbul, which the President announced at the Islamic Summit. We have prepared negotiation texts with different recommendations in this regard. We will continue our work as Islamic Chamber and TOBB in accordance with the direction we will take from the COMCEC. I hope that we will have completed the work of the Common Arbitration Center at next year's COMCEC meeting.”


Hisarcıklıoğlu explained that the Turkish business community has worked closely with the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and the Islamic Development Bank in every aspect as well as contributing to the development of entrepreneurship in Islamic countries, the improvement of the investment environment, the modern trade market, customs practices and the development of the chamber system.


Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that they are working for the integration of their Syrian brothers who were hosted in Turkey into the economy. “We are continuing our project for the OIZ, which will provide employment for 5,000 of our brother Palestinians. We attach great importance to the support of the COMCEC. As we are part of the region of Islam, our wealth will increase exponentially as we share our knowledge with each other. Because, in our belief, giving goods, knowledge, experience does not diminish them but instead multiplies. Let us not forget, this way we can increase the welfare and peace of the ummah.”


- Business partnership agreement signed to support 1,500 Palestinian families who emigrated to Turkey


TOBB, Kızılay, Islamic Development Bank, TIKA, Credit Guarantee Fund, AFAD, WAFA Group and SESRIC signed an agreement to support 1,500 Palestinian families who migrated to Turkey.


The signing ceremony was attended by TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, Kerem Kinik from Red Crescent and AFAD President Mehmet Güllüoğlu, as well as officials from the 33rd Standing Committee of the Islamic Cooperation Organization (OIC) Economic and Commercial Cooperation Standing Committee (COMCEC).

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