Turkey President Recep Erdogan says ‘SCO’ an alternative to EU

Istambul : Instead of just pursuing the membership of the European Union, Turkey should also consider other alternatives. The ‘Shanghai Co-operation Organisation’ (SCO) formed under Russian leadership, could be an excellent alternative said the Turkish President Recep Erdogan while suggesting that ‘SCO’ could be an alternative for EU. Erdogan’s speech along with Europe and Asia, may have changed the equations at an international level.

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For the past eleven years, Turkey has been making negotiations for an entry into the EU. Even so, these negotiations have not made any progress and Turkey has repeatedly expressed it’s displeasure over it. A few months back, Turkey and the European Union made a crucial refugee deal. Claims that the EU had made commitments to Turkey regarding the EU membership have surfaced. However, against the backdrop of the rebellion in Turkey and the proceeding followed by the Erdogan government, Turkey’s membership to the EU has stalled again. The EU has targeted the Erdogan Government over human rights and many other issues.

In the wake of these events, Erdogan is trying to strengthen ties with Russia and China. In spite of his differences with Russia over issues concerning Syria, Erdogan has taken steps to increase co-operation with Russia. He is also concurrently taking steps to enhance relations with China over energy, fuel and other sectors. It appears that putting forth ‘SCO’ as an alternative to the EU is a part of this strategy.

President Erdogan clearly showed his participation in ‘SCO’ by saying that Turkey needed to take its time to make a decision. He felt that Turkey should not be fixated on obtaining the membership to the EU at any cost. He asked why Turkey shouldn’t take efforts to try to join the SCO. He said that he had spoken to the Russian President Putin, the Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev and other leaders in this regard and hopes that it will soon produce a positive outcome. If Turkey joins the ‘SCO’, it will be able to function with ease.

In the past week, the Turkish President had advised his citizens to be patient until the year end with regard to its relations with Europe. He had indicated that a people’s poll would be taken on co-operation with the EU in 2017. Turkey, which has been supporting the EU with regards to migrants has now developed many differences with it. Many of the member nations to the EU have openly taken a stand and refused to accept Turkey’s membership. Therefore, Turkey’s desire of becoming an EU member may remain unfulfilled in the near future.

Against this backdrop, Turkey, which is a member of the NATO, is trying to connect to the Asian continent by indicating its possibility to join the ‘Shanghai Co-operation Organisation’ which incorporates China and Russia. While currently there are six members nations in ‘SCO’, India and Pakistan will be inducted as its members in the year 2017. In addition, ‘SCO’ has given the status of ‘observers’ to four countries including Iran and has approved 6 countries including Turkey and Azerbaijan as ‘Dialogue Partners’. It is being claimed that this organisation which has been established in 1996, has been coming forth as an alternative to the EU. It is evident that the aggressive strategies of Russia and China are responsible for it.

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