Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said ” Turkey must feel at ease. It mustn’t say ‘for me it’s the European Union at all costs’. That’s my view,”
Turkey does not need to join the European Union “at all costs” and can become part of a security bloc dominated by China, Russia and Central Asian nations. So said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on November 20.
“Turkey must feel at ease. It mustn’t say ‘for me it’s the European Union at all costs’. That’s my view,” Erdogan was quoted by the Hurriyet newspaper as telling reporters on his plane on the way back from a visit to Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
WHY SHOULD’NT TURKEY BE IN THE SHANGHAI FIVE?
“Why shouldn’t Turkey be in the Shanghai Five? I said this to [Russian President] Mr Putin, to [Kazakh President] Nazarbayev, to those who are in the Shanghai Five now,” he said. “I hope that if there is a positive development there, I think if Turkey were to join the Shanghai Five, it will enable it to act with much greater ease.”
As reported by the Reuters news agency, Nato member Turkey’s prospects of joining the EU look more remote than ever after 11 years of negotiations. European leaders have been critical of its record on democratic freedoms, while Ankara has grown increasingly exasperated by what it sees as Western condescension.
As for China, Russia and four Central Asian nations (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), these countries formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in 2001 as a regional security bloc to fight threats posed by radical Islam and drug trafficking from neighbouring Afghanistan.
Turkish membership of the SCO, which had initially not included Uzbekistan and been known as the Shanghai Five, would be likely to alarm Western allies and fellow Nato members.
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan speak Turkic languages, and Ankara signed up in 2013 as a “dialogue partner” saying it shared “the same destiny” as members of the bloc.
Mongolia, India, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan are SCO observers, while Belarus, like Turkey, is a dialogue partner.
Dialogue partners are entitled to take part in ministerial-level and some other meetings of the SCO, but do not have voting rights.
In related news, Turkish officers who were formerly appointed to Nato posts are currently seeking asylum in Western countries. “No Nato country can grant such people recognised as terrorists by an ally asylum,” said Erdogan. “We want them to be extradited. How can a Nato ally grant asylum to traitors, coup plotters and terrorists.”
“We asked Greece to extradite the fugitives who fled there. [Greek Prime Minister Alexis] Tsipras said it would be done within 15 to 20 days,” said Erdogan. “Unfortunately, it has been much longer than 20 days since then and we are still waiting. If we had done the same, they would have caused all kinds of trouble.”