By Sultan Cogalan, Fatih Tuna, and Fatih Hafiz Mehmet
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Wednesday listed a group linked to Turkey’s July 15 coup attempt as a terrorist organization, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed.
"We thank the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for showing solidarity by understanding our sensitivities and declaring FETO a terror group," Cavusoglu posted on his Twitter account, hailing the OIC move as a "milestone".
The OIC’s Parliamentary Union, meeting in the Uzbekistan capital Tashkent on Tuesday, issued a joint declaration denouncing all forms of terrorism.
The body issued a declaration following the meeting expressing its solidarity with Turkey in fighting terror.
Last week, foreign ministers of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states designated FETO a terrorist group and stressed their support for the Turkish government’s recent moves against the network.
Founded in 1969, the OIC, with a current membership of 57 states, is the second-largest intergovernmental organization after the UN, and describes itself as “the collective voice of the Muslim world". Turkey has been a member since 1969.
Led by Fetullah Gulen, FETO is accused of organizing the defeated coup as well as a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
Turkey has repeatedly asked the U.S. to extradite Fetullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999.
The OIC later called for prioritizing political approaches over military actions to solve conflicts.
The organization issued the Tashkent Declaration after the 43rd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Uzbekistan ended Wednesday.
The group underlined “the need for earliest stabilization of the situation in the Middle East and North Africa [...] by way of urgent political resolution of crises."
The declaration also stressed the need to resolve continuing or emerging conflicts through “peaceful negotiations, with the use of political, diplomatic and international legal mechanisms” based on international law.
In Afghanistan, the OIC said security issues there are not only a problem for the region, but the whole world, affecting all countries.
Criticizing military interventions, the group declared that they “support the settlement of the Afghan conflict through promotion of an inclusive process of national reconciliation”.
"These efforts should be undertaken under the leadership of the Afghans and by the Afghans themselves without putting any preconditions," the declaration added.
The OIC also decided to convene an “International Ulama [scholars] Conference” to boost political reconciliation, peace, security and stability in Afghanistan,” but gave no further details.
Efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism were also identified as priorities of the OIC, together with the illicit production and trafficking of drugs, illegal trafficking of humans and arms, ammunition, and explosive substances.
The organization said, “These dangerous phenomena can be defeated and eliminated only through a joint action, elaborating the measures of influence both to the symptoms and the roots of these problems.”
They agreed on cooperation to advocate further assistance in the fight against terrorism and the spread of extremist ideology, particularly among young people.
Moreover, the group stated that disseminating knowledge about enlightened Islam is an important tool for combating the ideology of terrorism and violent extremism.
“We highly appreciate the comprehensive efforts to combat radicalization and extremism using the true values of Islam and establishment of a broad educational process, inducting in the religious sphere,” the declaration said.