Address of H.E. Abdullah Gül, 11th President of Republic of Turkey to the Event Organized for the 25th Anniversary of D-8

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Dear Chairman,

Dear Group President,

Dear Minister friends,

Distinguished Deputies and Distinguished Ambassadors, Diplomats, Guests,


I would like to start my words by greeting you all with amity and affinity. I would also like to thank esteemed Temel Karamollaoğlu  for his kind invitation to this meeting. Today, we are together on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the D-8. I remember the days that we worked in the cabinet together with our distinguished minister friends for the establishment of this organization.  May God have mercy on the soul of our dear teacher Necmettin Erbakan. He was a very different person who thought not only of Turkey but also of the entire Islamic World, and of humanity. After he had developed his ideas for the establishment of such an organization, he assigned me with the task of their implementation. Therefore, it is truly an honor for me to be among you in this 25th year anniversary, as the person who carried out the background work during the founding process of D-8.

Again, 25 years ago, we were together with the heads of state and prime ministers of the D-8 member countries at this historical balcony that we just saw on the screen. Among them not only Erbakan Hodja, but also other important figures passed away unfortunately. I remember all of them with compassion. Undoubtedly, such a union would never have been built up if there were not such a political determination.

Dear Guests,

Dear friends,

As you know, our world and our region are going through a period that will not be written in history with golden letters. As a matter of fact, we always talk about "wars, fights and crises", instead of "peace and successes". The world is in a chaotic environment. In this respect, the theme of our gathering dedicated to “Today's Needs, Tomorrow's Hope D-8 in the Age of Chaos, Conflict and Wars” has been duly chosen.

No matter how we look at it, there is pessimism worldwide together with the realities of unpredictability and instability. The world faces very dangerous situations with the potential for conflicts at many corners. Why we are suffering in such an environment and why we are not getting rid of them? That's the main question.

As is known, humanity has very big problems from ancient times. Hunger, misery, diseases are among these problems. Moreover, the last pandemic killed more than 6 million people in the world, there are additional larger unknown numbers.

Food safety is a very important issue. There are millions of people dealing with hunger and falling into its grip. Last week, the UN Secretary-General declared to the whole world that 250 million people are on the verge of starvation and they are thinking about what to eat every day. In such a tragic situation, why then the wars should occur? In addition to the wars in the Middle East, in our north, we are facing the Russia-Ukraine war as a new atrocity, and we watch lively that everything is ruined and destroyed. Unfortunately, many events that we watch in historical documentaries are turning into reality today.

War is a reality not a joke. Wars bring destruction. Wars leave thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of orphans and widows, and devastate families. All wars come with their own burden. It is very difficult to cope with this situation.

As state administrators and politicians, we all know very well that; “It is easy to start wars, but very difficult to end them”. Especially if you initiate a war with no-foresight, rhetoric, excitement, and various passions without an exit strategy, then it becomes difficult to end it. Therefore, it is very important to focus on what we call preventive and confidence-building measures. Soldiers and diplomats know this best. Because they perceive best the cruelty of war, its destruction as well as its meaning.

This is where diplomacy moves in. Diplomacy is based on reality. There is no place for rhetoric, demagogy or imagination in diplomacy. There is always realism, calculation and analysis. In this respect, it is very difficult to end wars without the implementation of these items.

With this understanding, our esteemed Professor Erbakan took up the valuable principles, that we see on the screen, while considering the establishment of the D-8 together with other leaders in order to stay away from wars and fights.

“Let's make peace not war,

Let’s generate dialogue instead of confrontation,

Justice instead of double standards,

Equality instead of superiorly of anyone to the others, and

Democracy, fundamental rights and freedoms, instead of  oppression and domination.”

We assume that these principles are valid only for international and intra-state relations. However, in fact, all of them apply to the interior dynamics of each country as well.

All these principles are equally valid to provide countries with good management and to secure the contentment and prosperity of their people. We need to implement them in the state administration and within the country so that polarizations, injustices, unequal situations, unjust income distribution do not actually come out. The achievement of this goal means that inside of the countries, metaphorically their houses, remains organized and solid.

Whoever's house is neat and tidy, there is happiness and peace in that family. Whoever's house is in disarray, there will be conflicts, injustices, unrest and quarrels in that house.  The scale of them can climb high. All these items will of course bring fights. Therefore, when we think of them with regard to the domestic issues of countries, all these principles and undoubtedly their sub-headings are of utmost importance.

Indeed, these are all universal principles. When we implement them in our countries, in the member states and in other countries, then we will be able to channel this energy to be spent for happiness and prosperity of humanity. Therefore, the essential issue is to gather all energy and to transfer it to development.

Of course, there are 2 basic criteria for arranging the interior of the countries: We can separate them as political and economic. As you all touched upon previously, the political criteria mean the law, the basic principles start from there. After that, economic rules move in. There is a need for medium and long-term plans, programs, and tested economic programs, not based on short-term interests. When we apply all these items with determination and people of merit, ultimately, there will be order in the house.

On the other hand, when we look at international issues, it is unfortunately true that there are injustices and inequities whose roots come from the depths of history, dating back to colonial times as the issues remaining from the expansionist turn of imperialism. This adds pain to the pain today.

The UN was founded in 1945 on fundamental issues such as fostering peace and security, protecting human rights, ensuring social justice, and sustainable development, but unfortunately, no results have been achieved on these fundamental matters so far. Many regional organizations have also been established to fulfill these goals. D-8 has been considered as one of them.

The important issue here is economic cooperation. In order to be more realistic, I would like to remind you that some basic principles must be applied in our own countries so that this type of cooperation could yield results. The European Union is a very concrete example before us. They came together within the framework of democracy, human rights and a free market economy, and as a result, they formed a welfare society that is followed by everyone and today’s world with admiration. These countries were destroying each other 50-60 years ago. Nearly 60 million people were killed and massacred in Europe.

D-8 countries need to realistically scale up the bases of  their cooperation. We must be realistic. We are all located in different geographies. Our regimes are different, our cultures are different, our level of development is very different. When we take these issues into account, we must first achieve political cooperation, do not fight politically each other, and be at peace with each other.

Unfortunately, there were such periods that, even the member states in the D-8 sometimes put each other in their perception of threat. It was even interfered in domestic politics of the member states. I would like to sincerely say that this does not mean to remain indifferent. If, indeed, there are developments within the member states that will hurt our conscience, it would be beneficial to pursue policies to help them relieve of trouble and bottleneck instead of approaching them in a hostile manner. Otherwise, in today's world, the efforts to change their regimes of other countries do not yield any results, and such an attitude creates much more chaos.

One of the last things I would like to state is: If there is political trust and mutual solidarity, of course, then economic cooperation is just a matter of calculation. Collaboration, especially in sectoral areas, actually brings great advantages. Making production on a much larger scale, bringing together human resources, and revealing markets constitute opportunities that facilitate and pave the way for cooperation.

I hope that D-8 member states will always realize this reality. Referring to what Mr. Temel Karamollaoğlu previously put forward, and as we all see, we could not witness sufficient developments as much as we wanted. We fall behind the dreams. But it is never too late for anything; each of the goals can be achieved. For such a result, the rulers and leaders of our countries should display their political will, having learned from history, in a visionary framework and with an analysis based approach. Hereby, step by step, sector by sector, we will give good examples of cooperation between our countries from bilateral, trilateral to octal formats and in a way to expanding it further.

I would also like to point out that I exhorted great efforts to increase our bilateral relations from Egypt to Indonesia, from Pakistan to Nigeria. By participating in the D-8 Summits, especially in Nigeria, I demonstrated the importance I attach to this organization. Therefore, I highly value the development of bilateral relations between the member states and the strengthening of relations within the D-8.

Once again, I would like to thank the Esteemed Chairman of the Saadet Party, Mr. Temel Karamollaoğlu and his team, who have been holding these meetings since 25 years without hesitation and during all kinds of troubled situation. Let me reiterate my pleasure to be among you today, and offer you my greetings and affinity.

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