President Gul urges Muslim countries to address structural problems
The global economic crisis hit Muslim countries hardest, and these nations must urgently deal with their structural problems in order to avoid suffering the same fate, argued President Abdullah Gul yesterday. Addressing top officials of Muslim nations in Istanbul attending the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC), he said only through solving chronic problems such as poverty and unfair income distribution can Muslim nations reach the place they deserve in the international arena. Gul asserted that 22 of the COMCEC member countries are underdeveloped economically and that most suffer from political problems, wars, and widespread violence and also take insufficient precautions against natural disasters, all of which exacerbate their poverty. Although the global crisis began in developed countries, he said, it spared no country due to the high level of international interdependence, and underdeveloped nations suffered the worst. Gul said the economic and social development levels of Islamic countries fall far short of their potential. Especially the countries with rich natural resources should have a larger slice of global wealth, he argued. "Islamic countries, which make up nearly 22 percent of the world's population, get only 7 percent of the total annual global income," he said.