While the Economic Cooperation Organization includes more than 6 percent of the world's total population, its share of global trade is a mere 2 percent, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters at Istanbul Ataturk Airport before leaving for Pakistan to attend the 13th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Summit in the capital Islamabad, Erdogan said member states have a responsibility to increase the bloc's trade volume.
Every member has a responsibility to change this picture. In this sense, I believe the Islamabad summit is a historic opportunity, Erdogan said.
Referring to Turkey's role as one of the group's founding members, Erdogan said the ECO was established in 1985 to enhance regional cooperation and development efforts, and was later expanded to include other friendly countries
The organization today includes a total of 400 million people over an area of 8 million square kilometers. In this regard, it has great potential.
The president said that this year's summit takes place against a backdrop of momentous developments.
We are going through a process in which Eurasia has begun to assume growing weight in the world's political, commercial and economic arena. The main theme of the summit is connecting lines of transportation, communications, and trade for regional prosperity. The organization is a platform of great importance for coordinating our efforts to this end and also turning them into result-oriented actions, Erdogan said.
In line with this year's theme, Erdogan said that Turkey has carried out many large-scale transportation projects and has contributed to strengthening the organization.
Projects such as the [Istanbul's] Marmaray, Eurasia Tunnel, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, Osman Gazi Bridge, and high-speed rail lines have strengthened the transportation capacity of not only our country but also the members of the ECO. Similarly, rail lines such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars line will contribute significantly.
However, Erdogan added that the member states still face some problems mobilizing the ECO's tremendous potential.
The president also spoke on the summit's schedule and how he will hold bilateral meetings with other countries' leaders.
*Reporting by Sefa Mutlu; Writing by Hatice Kesgin
Source: Anadolu Agency