PRO-GROWTH, ANTI-TERROR MEASURES HIGH ON G20 SUMMIT AGENDA

ANTALYA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday urged G20 leaders to focus on growth strategies in their summit in the Turkish seaside resort of Antalya.

He started his speech at the start of the summit’s first working session with one minute of silence for the victims who died in the recent terrorist attacks in Ankara and Paris.

“There is a strong link between the economy and security, and we cannot neglect those connections,” said Erdogan.

Though economy is the main area of interests for the G20, it cannot be independent from political, social or cultural problems, and it is never independent from human life, Erdogan added.

“Despite all the steps that have been taken, we unfortunately did not see a strong global economic performance at a desired level,” he said.

Earlier in November, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development trimmed its forecast for global economic growth to 2.9 percent this year and 3.3 percent in 2016, down from previous predictions of three percent and 3.6 percent.

The IMF has also made similar pessimist projections recently.

In last year’s summit in Australia’s Brisbane, the G20 set an ambitious goal to lift its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by at least an additional two percent by 2018, agreeing on measures to lift investment, trade and competition, and employment.

However, Tristram Sainsbury, a research fellow with G20 studies center at Lowy Institute for International Policy, said the G20 growth strategy is not adding to growth, and that G20 members need to do more to coordinate their pro-growth policy.

Taking over the baton, Turkey, the host of the summit, has highlighted “three Is” — inclusiveness, implementation and investment — on G20’s agenda to revitalize a sluggish global economy.

On the eve of the summit, a wave of terrorist attacks rocked the French capital Paris, killing 129 people and injuring many more. The Islamic State (IS) militant group has claimed responsibility.

The G20 is expected to put out a statement on fighting terrorism later on Sunday.

The IS has also said that it was behind the Oct. 31 crash of a Russian airliner over Egypt’s Sinai and suicide bombings in Lebanon last Thursday.

Turkey has beefed up security for the Antalya summit, deploying at least 12,000 security personnel.

A spate of terror attacks struck Turkey recently, the largest occurring in Ankara on Oct. 10, killing 102 people.

Refugee crisis is also going to be included in the summit’s agenda. A four-year-old war in Syria has spilled over, forcing millions of people to flee to Turkey, Lebanon and other countries.

Also on Sunday, a number of bilateral and multilateral meetings took place on the sidelines of the summit.

Leaders of the five BRICS nations, including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, gathered in a meeting held prior to the G20 sessions.

The BRICS leaders pledged to strengthen their strategic partnership and cooperation in the course of carrying out the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and safeguard the interests of the emerging economies and developing countries.

They also called for early implementation of the 2010 reform plan of the IMF.

US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, amid wrangling over conflicts in eastern Ukraine and Syria, had a more-than-30-minute meeting. The two leaders reportedly exchanged ideas on the conflicts in Syria and eastern Ukraine.

Obama and Putin last met in New York in September during the annual general debate of the UN General Assembly.PNA/Xinhua