The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was established with the aim of protecting the rights and interests of the Islamic World and strengthening cooperation and solidarity among member states.
OIC was established in Rabat on 25 September 1969 when the first meeting of the leaders of the Islamic world was convened as a result of the arson perpetrated against the Al-Aqsa Mosque on 21 August 1969, in Jerusalem. The name of the Organisation was changed to Organisation of Islamic Cooperation with a decision taken at the 38th Foreign Ministers Meeting held in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan in June 2011.
Jeddah is the headquarters of the Organisation and Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen is the Secretary General. The Organisation has 57 member countries. Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is an observer member of the OIC under the name of “Turkish Cypriot State”.
Islamic Summit Conference convenes every three years. The latest summit was held in Cairo between 6 and 7 February 2013 and the next Islamic Summit will take place in Turkey in 2016.
Council of Foreign Ministers convenes every year in a different country. The 40th meeting was organized on 9-12 December 2013 in Conakry, capital of Guinea.
Representation of the TRNC at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
Turkish Cypriots first attended with a “guest” status to the OIC meetings in 1975 following the establishment of the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus. Our official delegations have been regularly attending the OIC Foreign Ministers Meetings since 1976 and the OIC Summit Meetings since 1981. The fist resolution adopted by the OIC on Cyprus was in 1976. The resolution decided to support until the Cyprus problem is solved, the rightful claim of the Turkish Community of Cyprus to be heard in all international forums where the Cyprus problem comes up for discussion, on the basis of equality with the Greek Cypriot Representatives and agreed that the representatives of the Turkish Muslim Community of Cyprus would be invited to attend future meetings of the Islamic Conference’.
Before the establishment of the TRNC, Turkish Federated State of Cyprus attended the 9th OIC Foreign Ministers Meeting in Senegal in 1978 as an observer under the title of Turkish Muslim Community of Cyprus. In line with the decision taken at the 11th OIC Foreign Ministers Meeting in Baghdad in 1981, the name of “Turkish Muslim Community of Cyprus” representing the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus was changed to “Turkish Muslim Community of Cyprus”.
At the 20th Meeting of the OIC Foreign Ministers which took place on 4-8 August 1991 in Istanbul, it was decided further to enhance the participation of the TRNC in the Organisation by enabling it to take part effectively in the work, activities and meetings of all the organs of the OIC, including its subsidiary organs and affiliated institutions. Despite this, the TRNC still faces some difficulties in attending all the activities and meetings of the OIC.
The resolution adopted at the OIC Senior Officials Meeting on 9-12 May 2004 in Jeddah, expressed deep regret for the rejection of the Annan plan by the Greek Cypriots, stated that the Greek Cypriots do not represent the Turkish Cypriots and that Turkish Cypriots would participate in the OIC meetings under the name envisaged by the Annan Plan. The resolution which also called upon the international community to end the unjust isolation imposed upon the Turkish Cypriots was approved at the 31st Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Istanbul on 14-16 June 2004.
The text of the resolution about Cyprus, which was adopted at the OIC Senior Officials Meeting in Jeddah, organized in preparation to the 32nd Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers held on 28-30 June 2005 in Yemen, included reference to the “Turkish Cypriot State”. The resolution was adopted with Indonesia’s reservation. Since then, the TRNC is represented under the title of “Turkish Cypriot State” at the OIC.
Participation in the Meetings of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, its Affiliated Institutions and Member Countries
OIC Islamic Summit: It is the highest organ of the OIC and convenes every three years. The TRNC is represented at the level of Head of State in the summit.
Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers: It meets once a year to examine a progress report on the implementation of its decisions taken within the framework of the policy defined by the Islamic Summit. The TRNC is represented by a delegation headed by the Foreign Minister.
Coordination Meetings of the OIC Foreign Ministers: A Foreign Ministry delegation headed by the Foreign Minister also participates in the Coordination Meetings organized every year within the framework of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States (PUIC, PUOICM): The TRNC is represented at the PUOICM with observer member status under the title of Turkish Cypriot State and the delegations from the TRNC Parliament attend the meetings of PUOICM.
Affiliated Institutions of the OIC
Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the OIC (COMCEC): Our country is represented by a delegation headed by the Minister of Economy at COMCEC, which is chaired by the Turkish President Abdullah Gül.
Islamic Development Bank (IDB): IDB was established on 7 December 1973 by seven member countries of the OIC with the aim of fostering the economic development and social progress of the Member States and Muslim Communities. Its headquarters is in Jeddah. It gives financial assistance to member states for their economic and social development and aims to foster foreign trade among member countries. IDB provided financial assistance to some activities of the OIC hosted by the TRNC. One of them was the Forum entitled “Higher Education Services in the OIC Member Countries” held in November 2011 in the TRNC. More recently, IDB provided assistance to the conference entitled “Water and Food Security in the OIC Member Countries” hosted in our country on 22-24 November 2013.
Islamic Centre for Development of Trade (ICDT): It is the subsidiary organ of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation which has been entrusted with trade promotion and investment among the OIC Member States. Its headquarters is in Casablanca, the largest city of Morocco. From 21 to 25 April 2008, our Ministry and the ICDT jointly organized a workshop entitled “Export Control and Increasing the Capacity of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)” in the TRNC. Also, between 3 and 5 March 2014, ICDT and our Ministry held a joint training workshop entitled “Export Promotion and Investment Strategies within the Context of Globalization”.
Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO):Our country which has been an observer member of the ISESCO since 19 March 2009, was represented for the first time at the General Assembly of the ISESCO held in Tunisia, from 2 to 4 July 2009. Delegations from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs attended the General Assembly meetings. In addition, nearly all of our universities have been accepted to the Federation of the Universities of the Islamic World (FUIW) which functions under the umbrella of the ISESCO, with a decision taken at Executive Council of the Federation on 27-29 May 2006 in the United Arab Emirates. Officials from our universities regularly participate in the activities of the Federation.
Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF): Our country, which has been an observer member of ISSF since its “13th Executive Board and General Assembly Meeting” on 6 May 2008, was represented by the officials from our Ministry and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports at the 6th General Assembly of the Federation between 31 August and 1 September 2009.
Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Agriculture (ICCIA):During the visit of the Chairman of the ICCI Saleh Bin Abdullah Kamel to the TRNC in November 2007, a protocol for cooperation was signed between the ICCI and Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry. Both chambers became the members of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) and have been regularly attending its meetings including the General Assembly Meetings. Moreover, our country is regularly invited to the events of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (ICCIA).
Organisation of Islamic Capitals and Cities (OICC): Girne and Gazimağusa Municipalities became observer members of the Organisation in 1992 and Lefkoşa Municipality in 1993. The status of our municipalities were upgraded to the status of “Active Member” in line with the resolution adopted at the 11th General Assembly Meeting of the OICC held in June 2007, in Ankara. Our municipalities are represented at the General Assembly Meetings of the OICC.
In addition to these institutions, the relations between our country and the subsidiary organs of the OIC, such as Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Center for the Islamic Countries (SESRIC) as well as its affiliated institution Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation (ICYF-DC) is developing day by day and our country is regularly invited to the activities of these organs and institutions.
OIC Meetings at Ministers Level: Our Ministers are officially invited to the OIC meetings organized at the Ministerial level, such as Information Ministers, Culture Ministers, Tourism Ministers, Agriculture Ministers and Health Ministers. Our country is regularly represented in these meetings, in particular the meetings of the Information Ministers.