By Can Erozden and Muhammed Ali Gurtas
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday urged Muslim countries to favor a preferential system of trade during the 33rd Ministerial Session of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC).
In the opening speech at Istanbul Congress Center (ICC), Erdogan said: "We have to focus our attention on projects for boosting trade among us.
"To improve economic and commercial cooperation among us is essential to offer our people a prosperous life as they deserve," he said. "So, we have to find ways to use programs such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and COMCEC in more efficient ways.
"Our duty is to transform the Islamic geography into an important production basin with measures aimed at boosting economic, technological and cultural progress. We have to form a model for it," he added.
Considering the opportunities brought by the important population of the Muslim world and its underground resources, Erdogan said: "Our main concern is to use these riches."
As the highest ministerial platform for the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) -- the second largest inter-governmental organization after the UN -- the COMCEC aims to improve economic and commercial relations among member countries.
The organization has its headquarters in Ankara and is chaired by Erdogan.
It was established during the 3rd Islamic Summit held in 1981 and became operational in 1984.