Leaders from Egypt, Iran, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Turkey attended a Developing 8 summit in Abuja, Nigeria in July. In an e-mail interview, Gareth Jenkins, Istanbul-based analyst and author of "Political Islam in Turkey: Running West, Heading East?", explains the background and current state of the D-8.
WPR: What is the historic background and focus of the Developing 8, and how is it evolving?
Gareth Jenkins: The Developing 8 (D-8) was founded on June 15, 1997, in Istanbul. It was the brainchild of Necmettin Erbakan, modern Turkey's first Islamist prime minister, who wanted to create a Muslim alternative to what was then the Group of Seven (G-7) of leading industrialized nations, later to become the G-8. The eight founding members were Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey. Although the D-8 is theoretically open to new members, no other countries have applied to join.