China looks to deepen relations with Turkey in SCO

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 15.03.2017 00:26

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying hinted at the possibility of deeper relations with Turkey within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Stressing that Turkey is a significant partner for the organization, the spokesperson said at the regular press conference on Monday that Turkey is a country that holds importance for Eurasia and is a vital dialogue partner for the SCO.

China said in December that it was willing to consider any application from NATO-member Turkey to join a Russian and Chinese-led security bloc, after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said his country could join.

Regarding the deepening of relations between the SCO and Ankara, Chunying said the matter could be discussed if other member states agree on it. "China is ready to work with other SCO members, on the basis of consensus, to look at Turkey's aspiration to deepen its cooperation with the SCO," she said, adding that, "The SCO follows the principle of openness and values cooperation with its observers and dialogue partners."

China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in 2001 to fight threats posed by radicalism and drug trafficking from neighboring Afghanistan.

In 2015, the SCO decided to admit India and Pakistan as full members. Even though the SCO is referred to as an Eurasian political, economic, and military organization, the cooperation between member states centers upon the fight against threats posed by terrorism and security issues that include drug trafficking across Asia.

Mongolia, India, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan are observers of the SCO, while Belarus, like Turkey, is a dialogue partner.

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