Turkey chooses Asia, joins Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
Turkey, which is a NATO member, has joined the Russia and China led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). It has joined the SCO security bloc as a “dialogue partner” and declared that its destiny is in Asia.
Why this shift?
Turkey, which has been trying to get membership in the European Union, is upset over the slow progress of accession talks. Ankara has been in talks on joining the EU since 2005 but has only completed one of the 35 policy areas, or “chapters”, every candidate must conclude to be allowed entry due to disagreements largely over the divided island of Cyprus.
What is SCO?
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO is an intergovernmental mutual-security organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to fight threats posed by radical Islam and drug trafficking from neighboring Afghanistan. Except for Uzbekistan, the other countries had been members of the Shanghai Five, founded in 1996; after the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the organisation.
- The official working languages of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are Chinese and Russian.
- Headquarters: Beijing, China
- Member States: China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan
- Observer States: India, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan
- Dialogue Partners: Belarus, Sri Lanka and Turkey (latest)
What is the equation of India and SCO?
India has been vociferous on gaining a greater role in the SCO and has been demanding full membership in the bloc. It has demanded larger role I the security grouping in Afghanistan in the wake of withdrawal of US-led NATO troops from war afflicted nation. India is inclined to play a major role in counter-terrorism structure of SCO to battle combat challenges of extremism by expanding cooperation b/w India and the Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure which is currently confined to the members of SCO.
India currently keeps the status of ‘Observer’ in the SCO which is above the status of ‘Dialogue Partner’. An Observer participates in the meeting but has no right to vote.