NATO member Turkey wants to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Turkey aspires to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), according to Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the end of the Samarkand summit, held between Thursday and Friday.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
19 September 2022 Monday 11:37
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NATO member Turkey wants to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Turkey aspires to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), according to Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the end of the Samarkand summit, held between Thursday and Friday. The Turkish president has said that "of course, that is the goal", in order to "bring relations to a more advanced level".

This organization for political, economic and military dialogue was founded more than a quarter of a century ago by China, Russia and several Central Asian republics, an area that forms its center of gravity. Although Turkey joined as an observer in 2013, it has participated for the first time at the level of heads of state, at the special invitation of the host, the President of Uzbekistan.

If full membership materializes, which will depend, among other things, on the outcome of the Turkish elections next June, Turkey would become the first NATO member to join an organization sometimes presented as an Eastern counterweight to NATO itself.

Erdogan seems determined to play with several decks, as does India, a full member of the SCO and at the same time of the Quad defensive alliance, with the US, Australia and Japan. There are also those who interpret his statements as a way of exerting pressure on the United States. Erdogan, who has already landed in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly, has not yet managed to arrange a meeting with the United States. he counterpart Joe Biden. At the same time, Washington has just lifted restrictions on US arms sales to Cyprus.

In contrast, Erdogan returned from his face to face with Putin with the commitment that the Russian company Rosatom will reverse its decision to terminate the contract with the Turkish construction company of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, in northern Turkey. The Russian president, for his part, announced Ankara's commitment to pay 25% of future Turkish purchases of Russian gas (half of its gas imports) in rubles.

The now ended summit, which would not win a democratic credentials contest, has seen the addition of Iran as a full member. It has also been in Samarkand, a city historically of Persian language and culture. The next meeting at the highest level will be in India, a country that will also host the G-20 summit in 2023.

Today China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan belong to the organization. Turkey has linguistic ties with the latter three, as well as with some of the dialogue partners or regular guests to the organization, such as Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

Turkey's interest in joining the SCO is also an implicit acknowledgment that its own alliance of Turkish-speaking countries, based in Istanbul, is still far from being the international actor it claims to be.

On the other hand, Erdogan does not miss the occasion, during his visits to the UN headquarters, to point out that "the world is more than five", in reference to the number of permanent members of the Security Council with the right to veto.

To prove it, the Islamo-Democratic president has raised his country's international profile, embracing international forums he has never been to before. The most surprising example, this month, is the incorporation of Turkey into the Andean Community of Nations (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru), as an observer.

Without forgetting that the members of the SCO make up more than 40% of the world's population, while the doors of the European Union remain closed to the Turkish candidacy.

To this we must add that, outside Europe, movements in favor of burying grudges are multiplying, given the uncertainty of the times to come and the global reconfiguration. Just this week we have seen General Al Sisi of Egypt shake hands with the Emir of Qatar in Doha.

Simultaneously, Hamas has made peace this Saturday with the Syrian regime, from where its members were expelled ten years ago for taking sides in favor of the Islamist rebels. Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself has expressed that, if Bashir al-Assad had come to Samarkand, he would have had no problem meeting him. And it has already been announced that he will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid in New York.

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