A lot of things were written and said about the Islamic Cooperation Organization summit that was held in Istanbul last week. We are not going to make a new assessment of the outlook and outcomes of the said summit here. The interpretations in this article are related to what the summit has reminded the Islamic world and Turkey of.
Islam is a great power in its own right. Countries, leaders, organizations and individuals representing Islam are each a part of this considerable power. However, they cannot make this power felt enough most of the time; because they are disorganized and divided. Thus, the factor those against Islam exploitthe most is this disorganization among the Islamic community. They are well aware that they will never be able to hold sway over a unified Muslim community, that their anti-Islam propagandas will be efficacious. It is for this reason that the works carried out in concert by the Islamic countries, the activities that emphasize their solidarity has always troubled the said groups. The Islamic army, and later the Islamic Cooperation meeting that was held at leadership level, are events that also have the same impact.
The summit is very significant in the sense of reflecting the emphasis on "togetherness". Following statements of the President Erdoğan, who took over the chairmanship of the summit, in this regard are noteworthy:
"We should be uniting, not dividing. We should strengthen alliances, not disputes; fondness, not animosity. Out of the conflicts, the disputes, the hostility only the Muslims suffer, only Islam countries suffer. We should increase friends and decrease enemies.”
This is true; Islamic countries need to cast aside the dissidences and strengthen the fondness, and solve their own problems through their own strength and solidarity. So at this juncture, it is necessary to bring to mind what the sole factor that brought the countries in question together in that meeting is: Islam. So long as the Islamic countries do not bring about a unity based upon their shared value that is "Islam", they will not be able to turn into the great power that we have mentioned before. Even though trade partnerships and military agreements are beneficial to a certain extent, they are in no way a guarantee of the desired deep-rooted alliance.
But Islam is the guarantee of such a deep-rooted alliance. It renders those countries strong and invincible. It solves disputes, it helps countries prosper together, and makes the Muslim community the representatives of peace. The nations united through Islam and regarding each other as brothers form a solid, well-founded structure. No one is strong enough to shake or bring down such an effective deterrent force.
It is important for the Islamic community to emphasize the significance of nation states and national borders through this conference. Symbolizing the resistance against certain Western civilizations who consider separation a virtue and the sectarianism that divide us into fragments within ourselves, this emphasis was one of the most significant issues that should be remembered and mentioned by the Islamic countries. From now on, the Islamic communities are obliged to prove the world that "separation is not the only solution".
The remembrance of "women" was a first and quite essential for such a summit. As one of the positive outcomes of the summit, a women's conference will be held in Istanbul every year. In order for the place of women to be understood properly, again, we need our only shared value, Islam; the true Islam that is purified from superstitions and free of traditions.
Now let's come to Turkey.
The summit reminded Turkey of an important value it has been distant from for some time now: The spirit of reconciliation. While the President Erdoğan's "We should strengthen alliances, not disputes; fondness, not animosity" statements were its assurance, the picture demonstrated at the summit was an indication of this. The Turkey-Saudi Arabia relations strengthened by hosting the King of Saudi Arabia, Turkey-Egypt convergence made possible by the mediation of, again, the Saudi King Salman, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt being hosted in Istanbul, the bilateral relations with Iraq being strengthened, and the emphasis that every Islamic country has an ally regardless of Shiite-Sunni differences were a long-needed progress and initiative for Turkey.
Turkey should stalwartly lead an alliance and friendship policy that will defuse the tension in the Middle East. And to be able to do this, we should adopt a tone that can solve the problems beyond our borders through political means and reconciliation. Such tone will provide a sound common sense to Turkey, conduce towards the establishment of trust among the Islamic countries, and the emphasis on fellowship will be remembered. If there is an important lesson that we have learned from the 21st century, it is the fact that it is not possible to solve problems through anger, resentment or violence, that alliance and embracing one another always produce constructive and good results.
From this point forward, Turkey should put this crucial issue it raised in the summit hosting the Islamic countries into action in its own domestic affairs as well. As the children of the same nation, first we have to build the solidarity spirit within ourselves, and then hold it up as an example to the world.
This is a vital necessity not only for Turkey, but also for all the beautiful Islamic countries of the Middle East. It is a well-known fact that polarizations, disputes and the horrible never-ending animosity are used as leverage on all the countries, and they are what led Syria to its current situation. Therefore, solving the main issue within ourselves will thwart the schemes of those who have ulterior motives. As Islamic countries, we have to adhere to the principles of reconciliation within ourselves, reconciliation between each other and ultimately reconciliation in the world. We should address the problems within and between each other through fondness, and then reach the level of wisdom and strength that will allow us to teach it to the world. This, before anything else, is what our religion orders us. And the fundamental way to achieve this is to never forget the fact that a single common and solid basis is what essentially brought us together. This solid basis is our noble religion, Islam.