Turkey has been accepted as a dialogue partner in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. You may not have heard of it, but it is becoming one of the most influential political/military groupings in the world — consider it the rising NATO of Asia, with 6 members China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
It was announced by Chinese President Hu Jintao in the closing session of the June 7th summit of the organisation, that Turkey would join Belarus and Sri Lanka as dialogue partners, while Afghanistan would be granted observer status.
Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Cheng Guo Ping called Turkey a key actor in the region and cited its close ties with SCO members. He said that the acceptance of Turkey and Afghanistan into the SCO would contribute to the ongoing fight against terrorism, separatism, extremism, illegal activity at borders and drug trafficking in the region.
Meanwhile Murat Salim Esenli, Turkey‘s ambassador to China, was quoted by the Chinese Cihan news agency as saying that the acceptance of Turkey as a dialogue partner should be regarded as a natural and expected development, given proactive Turkish diplomacy in the region and beyond, as well as historical and cultural ties with countries in Central Asia. Esenli asserted that Turkey will cooperate with the SCO in fighting terrorism and will seek to boost economic ties with members.
It is thought that Erdogan’s visit to China in April played a vital part in its decision to accept Turkey as a dialogue partner, and that close cooperation with the SCO could advance Turkey’s position on various international platforms.