Turkey lobbying for stronger Muslim support for Kosovo at OIC

Turkey is exerting significant efforts at the Islamic summit to have a strongly worded statement lending support to Kosovo's declaration of independence issued.

Turkey lobbying for stronger Muslim support for Kosovo at OIC
Turkey has been exerting significant efforts at a senior-level gathering of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) being held in Dakar, Senegal, to have a strongly worded statement lending support to Kosovo's declaration of independence issued.

Yet certain OIC members, including Azerbaijan, Egypt, Indonesia and Sudan, are firmly against any issuance of such a statement.

The foreign ministers of 57 OIC member countries gathered in Dakar in a preparatory meeting ahead of the presidential-level summit which will be held in the same city on Thursday and Friday. Foreign Minister Ali Babacan arrived in Dakar yesterday, and President Abdullah Gül will participate in the summit later this week.

Following a senior officials' meeting over the weekend, the OIC only emphasized a need to be in solidarity with the Kosovar people, without giving clear support to independence and without encouraging member states to recognize Kosovo's independence. The Turkish delegation, led by Babacan, is expected to hold bilateral talks with its counterparts to increase support for Kosovo's recognition. Turkey was among the first countries to recognize Kosovo's independence, following the declaration in mid-February. A few days later, the OIC also welcomed Kosovo's declaration, saying it would be an asset to the Muslim world.

"Kosovo has finally declared its independence after a long and determined struggle by its people. As we rejoice in this happy result, we declare our solidarity with and support to our brothers and sisters there," Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the head of the OIC, said on Feb. 19. "The Islamic [nation] wishes them success in the new battle awaiting them, which is the building of a strong and prosperous state capable of satisfying its people. There is no doubt that the independence of Kosovo will be an asset to the Muslim world and will further enhance joint Islamic action," he said then.

So far, along with Turkey, two other OIC members, Afghanistan and Senegal, officially announced that they have recognized Kosovo's independence. Separatist movements faced by certain OIC members have led to resistance of recognizing Kosovo's independence.

Kosovar Albanians declared independence on Feb. 17, the latest drama in the tortuous break-up of Serb-dominated Yugoslavia that began nearly two decades ago. Most Albanians are Muslims.

The majority Albanian territory, once a part of Serbia, has been under United Nations supervision since 1999, when NATO bombing forced a withdrawal of Serb forces that had been attacking Albanians in the province.

China, Russia, Spain, Serbia and other countries have opposed the move, with some saying it would encourage separatism.

Today's Zaman
Last Mod: 11 Mart 2008, 10:06
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