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Statement by Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, at the 16th Session of the D-8 Council of Foreign Ministers, 19 December 2013, Islamabad

Mr. Chairman,
Mr. Secretary General,
Honorable Ministers,

It is a great pleasure for me to meet with you all in Islamabad, on the occasion of the 16th Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Developing Eight Countries Organization for Economic Cooperation (D-8). I would like to thank to my Brother H.E. Mr. Sartaj Aziz for the excellent organization of this meeting and the warm hospitality of the Pakistani authorities.

I would also like to extend my sincere appreciation to ourdedicated D-8 Commissioners who worked hard in the last two days in the Commission Meeting to facilitate our agenda.

Distinguished Colleagues,

The idea of D-8 was put forward in 1997 by our visionary leaders of the time as a unique model of South-South cooperation to respond to the global challenges of the coming decades. The members of our Organization are all prominent political and economic actors, not only in the Muslim world, but also on a global scale.

Today, D-8 includes over 1 billion people and a GDP of approximately 4 trillion US Dollars. Total volume oftrade of the D-8 member countries in the world reached almost 2 trillion US Dollars in 2013 while it was434 billion US Dollars in 1997. Almost 5 fold increase since the inception of D-8.

The cumulative stock of foreign direct investment to D-8 countries is around 685 billion US Dollars by the end of 2012. These figures illustrate the enormous joint potential.

Turkey always adhered to the core principles and main goals of the Istanbul Declaration and we have the honor of hosting the D-8 Secretariat in Istanbul.

Distinguished Ministers,

The recent turbulence in the global economy has again underlined the need for a more transparent, more participatory, more constructive and most importantly more just political and economic global order. Multilateral platforms are now more crucial than ever to address the current challenges.

It is encouraging for our common future that for 16 years the D-8 Organization has been enhancing its profile as one of the major institutions for deepening political, economic and trade relations among its members while functioning as a leading multilateral platform in terms of international trade and economy.

As we all remember, in 1997, when took a first step for D-8, certain representatives of the international community voiced hesitation, referring to the geographical distance of its members and a lack of common denominator. As we also remember, since the inception of the Organization, beginning from 1998, the world has experienced several global economic crises, with the last one being the most severe. This has triggered an acute need for economic and financial reforms by the international community to strengthen the resilience of the global financial architecture.

The emergence of multilateral platforms such as G-20, BRICS, MIKTA and others has to be perceived as the outcome of this difficult period. Today one can say that 16 years ago the foundation of D-8 became an encouraging example for the establishment of similar platforms among like-minded countries. Therefore, as members, have to be aware of our potential and opportunities. But we also have to overcome our shortcomings.

The recent global economic and financial crisis has once again proven that emerging economies are a source of strength during periods of flux and that their solid growth performance prevents the total collapse of the global economy.

D-8 members are major actors in many international and regional institutions in Asia, Africa and Europe. The paradigm change in the world economy has been leading to the re-emergence of the East and South on the global stage. Center of gravity of global influence is shifting towards our countries.

After 16 years’ experience, today we have a mature organization. Last year in Islamabad Summit, the decisions of our leaders gave a new impetus to our unique Organization and became a milestone for the evolution of D-8. But there is still a long way to go.

Honorable Ministers,

Enhancing the volume of trade must be the most important aspect of any economic cooperation model. Unfortunately, today we are holding the 16th Meeting of the Council of Ministers of an “economic cooperation organization” which is yet to have an operative Trade Agreement. Moreover, the level of intra-D-8 trade, which was 150 billion US Dollars in 2012 is, regrettably, still far from the target figure of 500 billion US Dollars envisaged for 2018 in the 2008-2018D-8 Roadmap for Economic Cooperation adopted in Kuala Lumpur.

At the beginning of the millenium, the cumulative trade volume of Turkey with D-8 countries was just around 2.7 billion US Dollars. Today we have really an encouraging figure. Within 13 years, we have successfully reached more than 34 billion US Dollars of trade volume.

As the idea of Preferential Trade Agreement presents a great opportunity to boost intra-D-8 trade, we must strive to ensure that Preferential Trade Agreement becomes operational as soon as possible.

Turkey has already submitted its Lists to the Secretariat and commenced the necessary legal procedure in terms of domestic law.

In this regard, I would kindly request all member countries to expedite their domestic processes in order for the Agreement to enter into force.

Though boosting trade among us is an essential goal, we can also initiate new cooperation models and projects in the fields of industry, agriculture, energy, finance, transportation and tourism. D-8 can surely enhance its dynamism and become a more visible organization which can address the common global challenges for humanity as poverty, austerity and food security. These priority areas should be the focus of D-8’s attention.

At this point, I would like to draw your attention to aspecific cooperation field, namely transportation. The geographical distance between us underlines the importance of collective efforts to connect our nations through new projects. By strengthening current networks and creating new routes, we can integrate our economies, our cultures and most importantly our peoples.

I would like to make a particular reference toMARMARAY, a historic project linking Europe and Asia by rail under the Bosphorus Strait. This historic project, connecting Beijing and London and inaugurated on 29 October, our National Day, is a success not only for Turkey, but is also a unique asset for all D-8 members.


In parallel with the increasing potential of our organization and its global visibility, we have to pay more attention to inter-organizational relations.

It is pleasing that we are the members of various prestigious multilateral platforms such as G-20, ASEAN, African Union, ECOWAS, Pacific Islands Forum and OPEC. I believe that we can establish constructive and productive relations with these platforms and reflect our priorities into their agendas. Moreover, we have to enhance our solidarity for a more coherent D-8 within the sibling structures, namely Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).

At this point, I would like to cordially invite all D-8 members to take an active role for the implementation of the COMCEC Strategy under the umbrella of OIC.

While fostering our common efforts at the intergovernmental level, bearing in mind that the private sector is the driving force of economic growth, we have to facilitate our private sectors’ contacts and encourage them to engage in new collaboration in the D-8 geography.

I wish success to the D-8 Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in its endeavor to promote intra-D-8 trade under the leadership of the private sector.

Distinguished Ministers,

During the Pakistani Chairmanship, we succeeded in constructing contractual and institutional basis for D-8 to support us in achieving new goals. In this framework, we also attach utmost importance to the restructuring process of the Secretariat. We are aware of the administrative obstacles that the Secretariat has been trying to overcome.

The Secretariat needs to be strengthened and this can be realized only if all member countries allocate the necessary resources and jointly share the burden.

Turkey will continue to support the valuable work of the Secretariat with every means. To this end and upon to the request of the Secretary General, we are willing to enhance the Secretariat with an additional personnel to be seconded by Turkey. So we expect the position of the third director to be allocated to Turkey on the permanent basis. This appointment will establish a better-functioning channel of dialogue between the Secretariat and domestic authorities as well as contributing to better functioning of the Secretariat.

While heading towards the 20th Anniversary of D-8, we need more than ever to create an effective and productive organization. We should focus on D-8 priority areas of cooperation and intensify our efforts to attain tangible progress. I share the Secretariat’s invitation to the Member States to take a lead, as the coordinator/prime mover country, in each D-8 area of cooperation in order to strengthen and promote respective programs and projects to contribute to D-8 economic cooperation.

Being inspired by the successful experience within the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), I would like to express my firm support for the formation of the“Eminent Persons Group (EPG)” and believe that by reviewing our efforts to date, it will certainly open up new horizons for D-8.

The EPG could provide recommendations to be submitted to the 9th Summit for further enhancement of dynamism, efficiency and visibility of the Organization.

As in the case of our unique founding principle, we have to reach a sui-generis model which will evolve D-8 into an exemplary multilateral platform. In this new model, we have to provide for the free movement of goods, services, labor and capital among our countries. We have to benefit from our comparative advantages with a view to invest in innovative areas. We have to design sustainable development and stable economic growth policies for our nations. We have to render our geography a haven of peace, prosperity and mutual understanding. And most importantly we have to rely on human development in our model rather than wild capitalism.


Yesterday, I was in Konya to commemorate the Şeb-i Aruz ceremonies, which is a special occasion for many of our D-8 members. Therefore, I would like to remind you once again the universal quote of Mevlana Celaleddini Rumi:

“Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.”

And with these timeless words, I would also like to invite all of you and the Esteemed Heads of State and Government of member countries to the land of peace of Rumi, a cradle of tolerance and also my hometown, Konya, for the 17th Council of Ministers Meeting and 9th D-8 Summit in December next year.

In concluding my remarks, I would like to convey once again my heartfelt congratulations to our host, my dear Brother Mr. Sartaj Aziz for the successful organization of the meeting.

I would also like to extend my appreciation to the Secretary-General, Ambassador Seyed Ali Mohammed Mousavi, and his dedicated staff for their commendable work in taking forward D-8 activities, preparing comprehensive reports and their tireless efforts throughout the preparation process of this meeting.

Let us together pledge to spare no effort to make D-8 a force for good, for our countries, the Muslim world and humanity.

Thank you for your kind attention.