Muslim world faces risk of disintegration, says President Erdoğan
Verda Özer - ISTANBUL
“The main thing for us is Islam, not Sunni nor Shiite,” Erdoğan told a group of journalists returning to Ankara following a one-day visit to Tehran on April 7.The Islamic world faces the risk of disintegration amid sectarian tensions, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.
“The main thing for us is Islam, not Sunni nor Shiite,” Erdoğan told a group of journalists returning to Ankara following a one-day visit to Tehran on April 7.
“You may have a sectarian understanding, but if you impose that on another sect, you cause the disintegration of [Muslims]. At this time, The Muslim world is facing a risk of disintegration. The steps needed to be taken are to stop those efforts [to cause it to crumble],” the president said.
International organizations and institutions, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), should act accordingly “if they are sincere,” according to Erdoğan.
“But if some are acting with the logic of creating a market where they can sell more weapons, it is not possible to solve this,” he said. “It looks like there are people in efforts for such a market. We will hopefully prevent this. Last Friday, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited us and we discussed the subjects. I’m planning a trip to Indonesia and Malaysia as soon as possible to share my thoughts. Then we will have another visit to Saudi Arabia and have an influential process.”
Erdoğan said the subject was also on the agenda during his visit to Tehran and his meetings with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
An important subject of those meetings was the situation in Yemen, where a Saudi Arabia-led coalition is performing air strikes on Iran-backed Houthis.
“The countries that can have an active role in the region are obvious: Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran,” he said. “First of all, the groups in Yemen should come together and work on a possible solution. Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran should be in efforts for such a diplomatic solution, and they are positive about it. Saudi Arabian Crown Prince [Mohammed bin] Naif was in Ankara [on April 7]. We discussed these issues and shared our thoughts on Yemen. We agreed and conveyed our thoughts to Iran both orally and in writing. Now the process will continue with meetings to be held by our foreign ministers.”
Erdoğan also reiterated his support for ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
“As a person who believes in democracy, I cannot accept coups d’état,” he said. “Morsi was elected with a 52 percent vote, firstly he should be set free. The capital punishment sentences handed [to his supporters] should be lifted, around 18,000 political prisoners should get a retrial and the bans on political parties should be lifted. Some say ‘Turkey should stay out of our internal issues,’ but the world is now a whole. If anything against freedoms happen in any country, we must tell our thoughts on it.”