Turkey’s President Erdoğan Hosts Istanbul Summit in Quest for Islamic Unity

issTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday hosts over 30 heads of state and government from Islamic countries in Istanbul for a major summit aimed at overcoming differences in the Muslim world.

Turkey will seek to showcase its influence in the Muslim world, particularly in lands once controlled by the Ottoman Empire, at the two-day summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).Ankara has said it wants to use the meeting to narrow differences between the world’s estimated 1.7 billion Muslims but the gathering risks being bedevilled by disputes on issues ranging from Syria to Yemen.

Key guests at the meeting will include Saudi King Salman and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whose countries are locked on opposing sides in the Syria and Yemen conflicts.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoğlu said the summit was being held at a time when “the Islamic world is experiencing many disputes within itself”.

“Fratricidal conflict causes great pain. Sectarianism divides the ummah,” he told OIC foreign ministers on Tuesday, using the Arabic world for the Muslim community.

“Hopefully, this summit will pave the way for healing some wounds.”

A total of 57 member states, which have a total of $10 trillion GDP, will participate in the event.

Apart from the high-level security measures taken in Istanbul for the summit, which started days prior to the launch of the event, some 5,000 more police officers are on duty.