Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky has called on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to immediately speed up Turkey's membership process.
Stressing that the SCO needs to accelerate efforts to accept new members into the organization, Zhirinovsky on Saturday said that countries willing to be members of the SCO such as Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan should be acceded as soon as possible.
"The work towards bringing new members to the SCO should be accelerated. In this regard, the SCO needs to expand through Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan; three countries that want to be members of the organization," Zhirinovsky said.
Previously, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying hinted at the possibility of deeper relations with Turkey within the SCO. Stressing that Turkey is a significant partner for the organization, the spokesperson said at a press conference in mid-March that Turkey is a country that holds importance for Eurasia and is a vital dialogue partner for the SCO.
Regarding the deepening of relations between the SCO and Ankara, Chunying said the matter could be discussed if other member states agreed 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."
Chinese Ambassador to Turkey Yu Hongyang also signaled that Ankara may be accepted into the SCO. Yu Hongyang said in May that Beijing would be willing to discuss Turkey joining the six-nation bloc with other member states.
"China, which understands Turkey's intention of becoming a member of the SCO, is ready for Turkey's membership. …in consultation with other member countries," Hongyang had said at the time.
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, 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.