Ankara seeks to formally join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Turkey's president has said
Turkey seeks accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday. The remark came after the summit of the group wrapped up in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Erdogan took part in this year's event as a special guest.
"Our relations with these countries will be moved to a much different position with this step," Erdogan told reporters on board his plane. Asked whether Turkey is seeking to formally join the group, the president responded affirmatively. "Of course, that's the goal," he said.
The SCO is an economic integration and trust-building alliance that was founded in 2001, and is now the world's largest regional bloc. Currently, the SCO brings together China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Pakistan.
There are also four observer states - Afghanistan, Mongolia, Belarus, and Iran - which are seeking to become full-fledged members of the bloc, with the two latter nations already having launched the accession process.
Turkey, alongside Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, is currently recognized as a special 'dialogue partner' of the group. The SCO also launched the process for granting such status to Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia back in September 2021.