Natural Resources Will Be Used in the Most Productive Manner in the
Turkish-Islamic Union

The great majority of Muslim countries possess great geo-strategic advantages alongside valuable energy resouces and natural wealth, especially natural gas and petrol. Yet these resources and strategic advantages have not generally been properly used. The annual per capita income of 86% of people in the Muslim world is less than 2,000 dollars, while 76% have an annual income of less than 1,000 dollars and 67% of less than 500. This represents a huge inconsistency in terms of the means at the disposal of the Islamic world (1).

The Gulf of Basra alone contains two-thirds of the world oil reserves discovered to date. Research has shown that Saudi Arabia by itself has reserves totaling 262 billion barrels, or 25.4% of the world total. Iraq possesses a further 11% of the world's oil reserves, the United Arab Emirates 9.6%, Kuwait 9.2%, Iran 8.6%, other OPEC countries 13% and the rest of the world 22.6%. Moreover, research by the U.S. Department of Energy shows that petrol exports from the Gulf will rise by 125% between 2000 and 2020. This means that a large proportion of the world's future energy needs will be met from the Gulf, just as they are today. It must also not be forgotten that in addition to petrol the Middle East contains 40% or so of the world's gas reserves, 35% of which lies in the Gulf. (2)

On the other hand, Algeria, Libya and other North African countries possess 3.7% of the world's reserves. The Caucasus and Central Asian republics are also rich in natural gas and oil. The level of oil determined in Kazakhstan, for instance, stands at 10-17.6 billion barrels. Its natural gas capacity has been put at 53-83 trillion cubic meters. There are estimated to be 98-155 trillion cubic meters in the natural gas beds of Turkmenistan, which is the world's fourth largest natural gas producer (3). Some Muslim countries have very valuable mineral deposits. Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, for example, are some of the world's major gold producers. Turkey possesses some of the world's largest boron reserves, the importance of which has become clearer in recent years. Tajikistan has the world's largest aluminum processing plants.

This advantage enjoyed by Muslim countries will become even more important in the 21st century, referred to by some as the century of energy. In terms of industry, communications, urbanization and military matters, energy is one of the basic building blocks of modern society. Energy is essential for production and economic activity. That is why great efforts will be made in the 21st century to control energy resources and establish superiority in terms of them. Yet the Islamic world is unable to take proper advantage posed by the territories it encompasses. Most countries, even those with rich natural resources, lack sufficient infrastructure and technological means to increase production or use the resources unearthed in their industries. The only contribution those resources make to a country's economy is in terms of exports. These countries lack the means to process and use oil in their own industrial complexes and to develop their own industries. Moreover, some Muslim countries even lack the means with which to carry out underground exploration and to locate and bring out the reserves identified.

All these problems and deficiencies will be eliminated once the Turkish-Islamic Union is established, and underground resources will be used in the most advantageous manner. This will benefit not just the local population, but the world at large. Because the Turkish-Islamic Union will guarantee all these reserves and ensure they are used in an equal and just manner, as well as a profitable one.

1. Demetrios Yiokaris, Islamic League Study Guide, 1997
2. Anthony H. Cordesman, Arleigh A. Burke, The US Military and the Evolving Challenges in the Middle East, 9 Mart 2002, p. 3
3. Jim Nichol, Central Asia's New States, Congressional Research Service, p. 14

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