UPDATE WITH DETAILS
By Sena Guler
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey’s president on Sunday urged Muslim countries to work harder together to help millions of Muslims facing economic hardship.
“Twenty-one percent of the population of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) [countries], which means 350 million brothers and sisters, are trying to hold onto life at the poverty level,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the OIC High-Level Public and Private Investment Conference in Istanbul, the Turkish metropolis.
Erdogan stressed that the wealthiest Muslim country is 200 times richer than the poorest, but that if Muslims paid their zakat -- a religious obligation to provide financial assistance to the poor -- no Muslim country would suffer poverty.
Steps to boost investments between Islamic countries as well as threats and opportunities faced will be discussed during the two-day OIC conference, Erdogan said, adding that some unexpected decisions might be seen.
Erdogan underlined the importance of implementing the group's decisions to reach goals, saying: “It is extremely important that we implement the matters we discussed, talked about, and made decisions on.”
Erdogan said Turkey has the world’s 13th-largest economy and Europe’s fifth-biggest in terms of purchasing power parity.
The Turkish economy is second to none in terms of its readiness to withstand the impact of financial market fluctuations and global trade wars, he added.
He noted that last year Turkey was the sixth-most visited country in the world with 46 million tourists, and in 2019 aims to boost this number to 50 million.
Erdogan also said the Turkish banking sector has maintained its strength with its technological infrastructure and its resilience to shocks, adding that its capital adequacy ratio is 17%, well above international standards of 8%.
- Istanbul Arbitration Center
He announced that the Istanbul Arbitration Center is starting its operations this year to help resolve commercial and investment disputes between OIC member states.
Erdogan also urged OIC member states to help Albania recover from last month’s powerful earthquake and vowed to build 500 houses in the Balkan country.
"It is our main duty to worry about the problems of our brothers and sisters wherever they are in the world," he added.
The 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit Albania’s Adriatic coast on Nov. 26, killing 51 people and injuring more than 900.
* Writing by Havva Kara Aydin and Sibel Morrow