Per our discussion the “Gate” about the vacuum in US policy towards Turkey:
MK Bhadrakumar notes that Turkey has just applied for membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which means a close strategic relationship with Russia and China.
Erdogan rationalised the Turkish move in a curious way — as if it stemmed from the European Union’s disdainful attitude toward Turkey’s longstanding dream of membership of that organization, rather than as an intrinsic move in terms of the SCO’s attraction.
There was a touch of bitterness in the way he put it, alongside the schadenfreude that the Europeans themselves are in a mess nowadays. China and Russia would estimate that Erdogan follows an independent foreign policy and Turkish economy is doing well, and, in principle, Turkey makes a good partner for SCO. But, a full member?
Here, complications arise. Turkey is a NATO power and both SCO and the Western alliance would need to ponder how Turkey could belong to two security organizations at the same time, which compete for influence in the Eurasian space. The United States has so far failed in its SCO bid. Again, Turkey is an ambitious regional power.
On the other hand, Erdogan has done a lot to put the Turkish-Russian relations on an upward curve in the recent years. Trade is touching $30 billion and rapidly growing. Russian tourists flock to the ‘Turkish Riviera’ in huge numbers. Russia just won a tender for building Turkey’s first nuclear power station. The deal is worth $20-25 billion. The two countries also cooperate deeply in the field of energy. Turkey made a big gesture to Russia by granting permission for its South Stream gas pipeline to pass through Turkish territorial waters in the Black Sea.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan officially appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to take Turkey into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). He said this in an interview with “24 TV”.
“Although we have done much for European integration and even created a separate Ministry, but French President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel blocked the process. Before the arrival of Sarkozy and Merkel, I participated in the summits of EU leaders. After the decision was made to minimize the relationship with us. But we have not suffered from it. Now everything is in front of the eyes, where Europe is where we are. Remains to be seen whether Europe until the year 2023. I invited Putin to accept Turkey into the SCO, and he promised me to consider this matter with other partners for this organization, “said Erdogan.