Turkey's potential full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was emphasized at the SCO's 16th meeting of the Heads of States Council, which was held in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, recently. During the meeting it was emphasized that the enlargement process of the SCO would continue at a steady pace and Turkey's full membership in the organization was supported by various participants.
At the end of summit the Tashkent Notice was published. According to the notice, relations with countries like Turkey who are dialogue partners in the organization will be based on the principle of mutual benefit. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during his visit to China last July that Turkey wants to move its position in the organization from a partner to a full member.
Associate Professor Yang Jin from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and Russian Research Institute of Eastern Europe and Middle Asia, said that Turkey's full membership in the organization would indicate that it has matured, and would form a new basis for cooperation between China and Turkey.
Yang said: "Turkey's accession to the SCO would obviously form a new platform in terms of cooperation between China and Turkey. In recent years, bilateral relations between China and Turkey have improved. Especially in terms of the U.N., G20 or Afghanistan and similar regional and international issues, the two countries' relations in terms of cooperation and coordination is getting stronger. The accession would bring dynamism to the developing bilateral relations between China and Turkey."
"Turkey, in its current dialogue partner role, is actually participating in some of the organization's events. Within the scope of the SCO, China and Turkey have high potential in terms of working together. For example, the two countries could cooperate to fight threats that jeopardize regional security and stability … drug trafficking, transnational crimes. The two countries have common security threats. On the other hand, the two countries could complement each other in economic terms. There is also a high potential for cooperation in the areas of trade, economy, finance, energy, transportation, science, technology and tourism. China has a big market, vast amount of capital, developing technology and excess industrial capacity. Turkey is located in the center of Europe and Asia, thus it is building a bridge between Europe and Asia in terms of markets. If the two countries improve their cooperation with the SCO, they may speed up the construction of the One Generation-One Road project, Turkey may improve its strategic position, and it may bring dynamism to social and economic progress. Also, the SCO may improve their cooperation in the areas of politics, economy, security, culture and even regional stability, security and welfare."
Yang said that in the long run Turkey's full membership of the SCO is highly possible. He concluded: "SCO is an organization that is open to everyone. Whenever the circumstances allow, after Turkey gains the title of observer, then it will become a full member of the SCO, that also submits itself to the legal procedures of the organization. In the long run, in my point of view, there is a possibility that Turkey can join SCO and it is most likely to happen."