The Organization of Islamic Conference was founded in 1969. Close to half a century later (42 years), the group's name was changed to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation is an important body, with 57 member countries from four continents, which means that it is the most comprehensive organization with broad participation after the United Nations.
When the economic and social characteristics of the member countries are analyzed, all the countries are different in their economic development, population, resources; thus these differences create a powerful potential.
For example, G20 countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia are a part of the platform, and so are countries like Azerbaijan, Iran, Qatar, Iraq, Turkmenistan, which hold the world's energy resources in their hands. And of course the world's new favorites, the African countries.
However, although these countries show major differences in their social, economic and political fields, these countries have something in common: They are Muslim countries or have Muslim cultures.
With its wide network and the differences all its member countries offer, how effective is the OIC in world economy and politics?
WHY CAN'T THE OIC BECOME AN ECONOMIC INTEGRATION PROJECT?
As understood from its name, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is beyond a conference organization, and instead aims to develop cooperation among Muslim countries.
Changing its name 42 years later suggests that the organization aims to increase its power in political and economic issues. The ultimate aim is to strengthen the trade and economic activities of the OIC member countries and enable them to have a voice in the global economy.
However we cannot say that this aim has shown the anticipated effect. Because when we say cooperation, this cooperation is supposed to be in many fields; yet, the ultimate aim is to establish integration among member countries. At this point, the OIC is far from having an integrating effect.
There are steps that need to be taken for an economic integration to be successful in the economic theory. These steps are: Free Trade Zone, Customs Union, the Common Market, Economic Union and Political Union.
If the OIC has been on the Free Trade step of the economic integration since 1969, the year it was established, but has not been able to move on to the next step in half a century, then there is a lot to do. If the aim is to establish a holistic and powerful system for Muslim countries and Muslim societies, then the practices and reforms have to be more realistic and effective.
There are committees, support establishments, institutions and an Islamic Development Bank within. The problem is that there are no mechanisms that increase the functionality of these institutions.
Besides the corporate infrastructure, qualified staff and conjuncture needed to increase the OIC's power is suitable. At a time in which the global economy has slowed down, the balance of power is in progress and moving toward Muslim countries, the OIC can easily expand the area that it is effective in.
Why shouldn't the OIC have an integration like the EU?
This is the question that comes to mind at this point: Is it not possible to take good advantage of this period which both corporate process and global conditions are in favor of the OIC?
THE 13th ISLAMIC SUMMIT
The 13th Islamic Summit expected to take place in Istanbul this week is an opportunity for the platform to integrate, to find the problems standing before it and the solution suggestions needed for these reforms to take place.
Muslim countries and societies will be given an opportunity to express themselves at a time in which Islamophobia is on the rise in Western countries. It is important that this opportunity is put to good use, and the messages are put into practice.
Most importantly, in an order in which OIC member countries are developing or are underdeveloped and income injustice is a reality, then the OIC and similar organizations have to remember that they have many responsibilities to fulfill.