The first step towards the establishment of D-8 was the “Conference on Cooperation for Development” organized in Istanbul on 22 October 1996 with the participation of Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt and Nigeria upon the invitation of Turkey. After the three preparatory meetings of the Commission and the two of Council of Foreign Ministers following this Conference, D-8 was officially established by the Summit of Heads of State/Government in Istanbul on 15 June 1997.

The Istanbul Summit adopted the Istanbul Declaration of Summit of Heads of State/Government on the structure and functioning of D-8. According to this Declaration, D-8 became a structure with three main bodies consisting of the Summit, the Council and the Commission, and an Executive Directorship was established in Istanbul to ensure the necessary coordination in its activities.

Retired Ambassador Ayhan Kamel, who was appointed as the D-8 Executive Director in 1997, assumed this duty until 2006. At the 9th Council of Ministers Meeting of D-8 held in May 2006, the Executive Directorship was transformed into Secretariat General and the Secretary General was appointed by Indonesia, the Director was appointed by Iran and an Economist was appointed by Turkey. The current Secretary General appointment was made by Malaysia. Ambassador Dato’ Ku Jaafar Ku Shaari is the current Secretary general of the Organization.

Turkey is the current Chair of the D-8. The last D-8 Summit (9th Summit) was held in İstanbul on 20 October 2017 and the 18th Council of Ministers (3 November 2018) was held in Antalya. The Foreign Ministers’ meetings in 2015 and 2016 were held in New York at the margins of the UN General Assembly. The last D-8 Commission Meeting (42 nd) was held in Istanbul on 9-10 October 2019 by Turkey. It is foreseen that the next Summit will be held in Dhaka and Bangladesh will be the next Chair of the Organization.

Purpose, principles and policies

All of the D-8 members are OIC members at the same time, and they are among the leading countries in terms of their technological and economic development levels, commercial potentials and population within the OIC.

D-8, an example of cooperation between the countries on the path to development under the South-South dialogue, is an establishment aimed at the economic and commercial cooperation among the member countries. D-8’s objectives are to improve developing countries’ position in the world economy, to diversify their commercial relations and to create new opportunities for member countries in trade, to enhance participation in decision-making mechanisms at international level and to provide better standards of living.

Membership in D-8, which has a global rather than a regional nature in terms of its principles and geographical area, is open to other developing countries subscribing to the above-listed purposes and principles.

Cooperation within D-8 is mainly carried out on a sectoral basis. Turkey coordinates cooperation activities in industry, health and environment; Bangladesh in rural development; Indonesia in fight against poverty and human resources; Iran in science and technology; Malaysia in finance, banking and privatization; Egypt in trade; Nigeria in energy; and Pakistan in agriculture and fisheries.

D -8 Charter

The Developing Eight Countries (D-8) Charter was signed by the then-Foreign Minister Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu during the 8th D-8 Summit held in Islamabad on 22 November 2012.

The Charter was discussed and adopted in the General Assembly of the Turkish Parliament in February 2017.

Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) / Protocol on Rules of Origin

At the 5th D-8 Summit held in Bali in May 2006, the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) was signed by all members. And, at the High Level Trade Experts Meeting held on 3 July 2008, the Protocol on Rules of Origin which constitutes the annex of the Preferential Trade Agreement has been approved by Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Turkey, Indonesia and Pakistan so far.

For our country to put into effect the concessions under the Agreement, the decision of the Council of Ministers on the Lists of Concessions belonging to Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan was published in the Official Gazette (bis) dated 14 July 2015. The concession lists of Nigeria, which amended its list, and of Iran, which submitted its list late, were approved upon publication in the Official Gazette dated 19 November 2015 and numbered 29537. Thus, the internal approval procedure has been completed for Turkey.

At the Second Meeting of the D-8 Council of Trade Ministers held on 17 February 2016, the Agreement was decided to be put into effect as of 1 July 2016.

The implementation of the Preferential Trade Agreement will be one of the most important achievements of the D-8 Organization to develop trade based on free trade principles among member countries.

The Wise Men Group

At the meeting of the Council of Ministers held in Islamabad on 19 December 2013, it was decided to establish a Wise Men Group (WMG) to evaluate the organization’s 16-year-history and provide recommendations for the future vision.

Deputy Prime Minister Prof. Dr. Numan Kurtulmuş has been assigned as the Wise Man of our country. The first meeting of the WMG was held in Istanbul on 15-16 May 2014. The second and the final meetings of the WMG was held in Turkey again on 27-28 August 2014, and subsequently the WMG report was presented to the Foreign Ministers at the Ministerial Meeting held on 25 September 2014 at the margin of the 69th General Assembly of the United Nations.

Turkey’s Relations with the Organization

Turkey attached particular importance to D-8 since its foundation. Turkey initiated the Wise Men Group and took over the Chairmanship of Organization by holding the 9th D-8 Summit in İstanbul on October 2017. The Summit adopted the Istanbul Declaration, Istanbul Plan of Action 2017 and established D-8 Project Support Fund. The Accession of new members to the Organization was proposed by H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Turkey at the 9th Summit. The Working Group established to elaborate the matter made its first virtual meeting on 3 October 2019.

Granting Observer Status to D-8 Organization at the UN General Assembly

The draft resolution on granting "Observer Status to the Organization of the Developing Eight Countries (D-8) at the General Assembly" adopted on 14 November 2014 at the Sixth Committee under the 69th UN General Assembly was adopted by the UN General Assembly without voting on 10 December 2014.