The outgoing head of the D-8 economic bloc pointed to Turkey's importance, urging it to show its leadership in a variety of sectors.
In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Seyed Ali-Mohammad Mousavi said Turkey is not a simple member of the D-8. The organization was launched on June 15, 1997, after Turkey's then-prime minister, Necmettin Erbakan, proposed the creation of an economic group consisting of eight emerging economies from the Muslim world, including Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey.
Turkey currently holds the chairmanship of the D-8, for the next two years, for the second time in 20 years.
On that note, Mousavi said: During this time, we expect a lot from Turkey, for it to take the reins to spearhead, initiate more activities and to show its leadership in sectoral activities.
Mousavi expressed gratitude to the people and the government of Turkey for hosting the D-8 and its activities, saying: Turkey within this coming two years will make our organization into a success story on regional cooperation.
International University of D-8
In 2015, Iran's Islamic Azad University and the D-8 signed a letter of intent on efforts to establish the International University of D-8 on the occasion of the organization's 4th Ministerial Meeting on Industry. Mousavi said the university anticipated an official announcement this coming summer.
He said, As far as I know, they currently are working on the curriculum and working on the rule of procedure on how students from all D-8 countries can apply to this university. As I know, this is the university for post gradmaster and PhD students.
Challenges in energy, transportation
The D-8 organization adopted a 10-year road map at its 2008 summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Under the roadmap, the organization is focused on five priority areas to cooperate including trade, energy, transportation, agriculture and industry.
Mousavi told Anadolu Agency that tourism was also recently nominated as another priority area in the 10-year roadmap.
We do have some success stories in these areas. For example in trade relatively we have good progress, similarly in agriculture good progress, on industry again good progress, he said.
In agricultural cooperation, Mousavi named the five working groups established.
We have five working groups including on fertilizer, on seed security, on animal feed, on marine affairs and fisheries, and on standards and trade. In industrial cooperation, we have 14 task forces as we just came back from Ministerial Meeting on Industry in Abuja, Nigeria We very much hope that in the near future we could have a common mega project we can work on [in the area of industry].
Mousavi drew attention to the challenges the D-8 member states face and said in energy, we are lagging behind.
There are some scattered activities here and there on green energy but generally speaking these are one of the challenges in the area of energy, he said.
He added that cooperation on transportation is another challenge for the organization. While we have good success story in civil aviation, generally speaking on other sectors in transportation like land road, rail road or shipping we have to yet start cooperating with each other. That is why we need more concrete cooperation on transportation. he added.
Mousavi announced that the new ten-year roadmap will be introduced at the next ministerial meeting of foreign affairs in Antalya next year, 2018. He said the D-8 member states' Foreign Ministers are going to discuss and adopt the decennial road map. It will of course be updated and we will review the progress made in each and every sector.
At the 9th summit of the D-8 which Istanbul hosted on Oct. 20, Mousavi hailed it as very successful and added: We had quite good decision on establishment of clearing house for money exchange. We had also decided to establish a research center. We have already decided on expanding our scope of Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA). We decided to harmonize our custom and also have decided to establish a fund for the implementation of the project [PTA].
Source: Anadolu Agency