Speech of Prof. Mustafa Şentop at the Inaugural Session of the PUIC 16th Conference

Speech of Prof. Mustafa Şentop at the Inaugural Session of the PUIC 16th Conference

His Excellency Professor Dr. Mustafa Şentop, President of the Grand National Assembly of the Republic of Turkey, and President of the 16th Session of the PUIC Conference delivered his Speech at the opening ceremony of the 16th Session of the PUIC Conference held in Istanbul - Turkey - on December 10, 2021. This is the text of the speech:

Your Excellency, Mr. President;

Distinguished Speakers of Parliament;

Members of the Parliament;

Distinguished Secretary General;

Dear guests,

It is a great pleasure for us to host the esteemed speakers and members of parliaments as the representatives of the Islamic world, here in İstanbul - the ancient capital of history and civilizations.

I would like to cordially and respectfully greet our distinguished guests at this historical venue where we launch the 16th Conference of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Member States (PUIC), where the main theme has been designated as “Sharing, conscience and Islam: Palestine, Migration and Afghanistan.”

- I pray to Allah that the deliberations we intend to carry out as part of this event as well as the views and opinions we share will bring about benevolent outcomes for our countries, nations, the Islamic world and humanity as a whole.

- Having brought our countries together and introduced a parliamentary aspect into our ongoing partnership, PUIC offers an effective and efficient platform for discussing the issues and troubles of the Islamic world.

- In view of the developments as well as the problems we have been experiencing across our region, I am positive that we all agree on the need for PUIC to act as actively as possible and take initiatives to the greatest extent in the days ahead.

Your Excellency Mr. President, distinguished guests; we are going through a challenging period where the history has been proceeding faster than ever, international politics has been witnessing profound milestones, a development in one part of the world affects another region more than ever, economic models face the necessity to reinvent themselves, and most importantly, the humanity and our consciences are being tested as never before.

The greatest burdens of this period are shouldered by the Islamic world, and the heaviest prices are paid by the Islamic world.

To put it briefly, we are encountered by such a destruction underpinned by disgrace and anarchy, which may paralyze the future of nature, climate and economy worldwide as well as that of the mankind and future generations.

And the ones responsible for that destruction happen to be the same people who use fancy words as they promise to uphold democracy and human rights, bring about peace, prosperity and better living standards.

Just like Allah reveals in Ayats 204 and 205 of Surah Al-Baqarah: Among the people there is he whose conversation on (the affairs of) the present, worldly life fascinates you, and he calls on God to bear testimony to what is in his heart, yet he is most fierce in enmity. And when he holds authority, he makes effort in the land to cause mischief in it and destroy tilth and offspring; and Allah does not loves mischief.

This is a striking and concise depiction of the world we live in today.

Your Excellency Mr. President, distinguished guests; I believe we need to address the problems ravaging our region, particularly the question of Palestine and Al-Quds, which can only be resolved through joint action, and make sure that they remain at the top of the international agenda.

Underpinning the very existence of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation which was founded more than half a century ago, the Cause of Palestine, defending Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa Mosque, in other words, founding a free and sovereign Palestine State surrounded with the borders of 1967, with Al-Quds its capital, remains to be our pivotal cause and ultimate struggle.

I have no doubt that our firm solidarity for the Cause of Palestine will continue in full swing.

It is an essential mandate for not only Muslims but also all humanity to preserve the historic and legal status of Al-Quds - the city of Prophets where the sacred landmarks of three main beliefs sit next to one another, where our first qiblah Al-Aqsa Mosque is located.

What's more, it is imperative for us to take a common stance and joint action considering the formidable situation sweeping Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and many others.

As PUIC, we must step up, act constructively and provide guidance to contribute to the security and stability of Islamic countries, and ensure peace and prosperity for their peoples with a view to addressing humanitarian needs as well as fostering reconciliation between our brothers and sisters who have been in conflict with each other.

Likewise, it is of utmost importance that Rohingya in South Asia return to Myanmar safely, voluntarily, permanently and with dignity; the isolation imposed on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus comes to an end, and the fundamental rights and freedoms of Muslim Turkish minorities living in Western Thrace and those of Uyghur Muslims are safeguarded.

We must band together to address the issues that require solidarity and cooperation to the greatest extent in seeking a remedy for the situation of migrants who were forced to flee their home countries.

It is critical that the issues associated with migration, which are of great concern both for our region and the rest of the world are resolved without causing further suffering for anyone. Taking joint action and efforts to achieve that end is a requirement of being a good Muslim and a decent human.

The situation of Muslim communities and minorities living across the globe remains to be one of our priorities.

As I see it, we must maintain our support and attention to our brothers and sisters who have been preserving their religion and identities despite all the oppression and persecution they endured in the face of most intense prejudice, intolerance and discrimination.

In my judgment, based on this understanding, as PUIC we must carry into effect a series of mechanism designed to closely follow up on the aggrievement as well as the needs and requests of our brothers and sisters.

Your Excellency Mr. President, distinguished guests; the values and causes that bring us together as Muslims are far stronger than the issues that may spark conflict.

In fairness, it is crystal clear that compared to the reasons for our solidarity and unison, the reasons for conflict are so miniscule that they are beneath notice.

It is safe to say that, the values that are strong enough to bind all the people around the world together are indeed within and amongst us- the Muslims.

Yet again, as almost 2 billion Muslims living across one of the most strategic locations on the planet, our power and influence are still relatively small although we have access to the great means offered to us by the world economy.

It is imperative for us to reflect and ruminate on that. We are aware of the tangible and intangible power we would draw from acting together, and in unison. We must cling firmly to the rope of Allah.

As our mighty Creator explains, we would grow weak, our blow and impact would fade away when we are in conflict.

Let's think about it: European countries waged two world wars against one another in the first half of the 20th century. They slaughtered more than 100 million people in total, they razed their cities, homes and economies to the ground.

And what's more, these European countries had already been at war and in conflict with each other for centuries. Nevertheless, they made peace, and came to terms starting with the second half of the 20th century. They focused on their shared values and common interests. It wasn't long before they advanced and gained strength.

Over the course of history, we did not fall out, wage wars against one another, kill each other or destroy another's cities and homes as the European countries did.

We did and still don't have meaningful grounds for conflict, separation or segregation among ourselves. To the contrary, we have our Allah, our Prophet, our faith and history calling out to us to unite and partner. If we stick together, we can put up a dynamic and study fight for creating a fair world where humane conditions will be in reach both for us and the communities who have suffered oppression.

Let us trust and have faith in one another, and consult each other to make our own decisions in our own common and best interests instead of paying heed to the words and decisions of others.

If we fail to resolve our issues, make our decisions on our own, others will come and surround our geography in fire claiming they are here to resolve those issues, and try to rearrange it to fit their own best interests.

Your Excellency Mr. President, distinguished guests; the actions taken by the leading actors of the existing international community are unfortunately far from addressing the problems I have just touched upon.

Despite their great number, none of the decisions taken by the UN as the leading global player, to address the issues I have mentioned earlier has contributed to securing a solution.

The most recent example of that would be how, last year, our Azerbaijani brothers and sisters were forced to step up against the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh -a region right next to us- which claimed the lives and homelands of our Muslim brothers and sisters, following a 30-year period of deadlock left unaddressed by the international community.

I would like to take this occasion to congratulate them once again for their rightful and decisive victory.

This is why, in our opinion, the international bodies that are supposed to regulate and bolster the international system need to be refashioned based on the principles of true representation and equity.

As the Muslim world, we also need to revisit our institutions through this perspective.

As I have mentioned earlier during my remarks, the new perspective the Islamic world would offer to address the existing problems of the international system, the new approach it would introduce can only prove effective only if we also transform and consolidate our institutions.

We must seriously consider carrying PUIC beyond its function as an effective parliamentary diplomacy platform that brings together chairs of parliaments, and transforming it into a standing assembly which will serve as a common advisory body for the Islamic world with a mandate to set forth and improve our common principles.

Yet again, there are some urgent steps we should take within our existing capacity.

Islamophobia, xenophobia and racism are on the rise across the globe. And sadly, this trend is becoming something more than a morbid social case, and is being mirrored in the government policies in some countries.

That is why, I suggest we set up a special committee within PUIC, which would be in charge of monitoring the rights violations suffered by Muslim minorities residing in countries that are not members of PUIC, receive their applications to inquire and report on these violations.

In my personal opinion, it is also possible that such a committee would evolve into a separate body with its own internal bylaws and functioning in the future.

Your Excellency Mr. President, distinguished guests; as I conclude my remarks with these sentiments and considerations, I would like to congratulate Burkina Faso on their great performance as the former Term President, and stress out that we will be working in close partnership with all PUIC member states during our Term Presidency.

Expressing my complacency for having you here in İstanbul once again, I pray to Allah that the 16th PUIC Conference proves fruitful and favorable for our nations and the Islamic world.

I kindly request you to extend the best regards of our esteemed nation to your peoples. May Allah bless you all. Please accept my sincere regards.

Latest News