Will Turkey join the Shanghai Organisation?

According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan his country is targeting membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), whose members include China, Russia and India. After the SCO summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Erdoğan said that membership would be discussed next year. This would make Turkey the first Nato state to join the large Asian alliance.

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T24 (TR) /

Open in all directions

A diverse foreign policy is essentially a good thing, diplomat Hasan Göğüş points out on T24:

“At least as long as Turkey doesn't turn its back on the Western axis it has turned to since the Tanzimat [the reform of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century], on the alliances on which its security is based, or on contemporary democratic values and human rights. ... Versatility is a standard component of Turkish foreign policy. Nato membership since 1952 has never posed an obstacle to maintaining good relations with Russia. Just as Turkey is a founding member of the Council of Europe, it also became a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Not a real alternative to Nato

Der Tagesspiegel sees the move as a ploy aimed at capitalising in both domestic and foreign policy:

“It is highly unlikely that Turkey will renounce Nato's promise of support and put its fate entirely in Russia's hands. By flirting with the SCO Erdoğan no doubt hopes to impress his voters, strengthen his relations with Putin and increase his threat potential vis-à-vis the West: Look, we have other options. New tensions between Ankara and the US and Europe are likely - but for the foreseeable future the SCO is not a realistic alternative to the West for Turkey.”

In.gr (GR) /

A mole in the Alliance

Website In.gr says Erdoğan is double-dealing:

“It's significant that he said that since they don't want him in the EU he would prefer to be associated with countries with which Turkey shares 'historical and cultural' commonalities. In this way he is helping to create an anti-Nato alliance, while at the same time undermining Nato itself from within by continuing to participate in it - knowing full well that no one will kick him out because of his country's geostrategic position.”

Sözcü (TR) /

President blowing hot and cold

Erdoğan has been promising that the country will join the EU for years, the anti-government paper Sözcü scoffs:

“Our leader of the century said in 2020: 'No matter what anyone says, our goal is the EU'. ... Then our esteemed fellow media printed headlines like 'The Conqueror of Europe' and wrote of a 'European Turkey'. In 2022, our leader of the century and Europe conqueror has turned the helm back towards Asia. 'Our goal is to become a member of the Shanghai Five', he said, stressing that our 'ancestral homeland' is Asia. Our esteemed media then headlined 'The Conqueror of Shanghai', and wrote of the 'Leader who is changing the balance in the world'. ... If nothing comes of the Shanghai Five, we'll certainly be joining the Bucharest Nine or the Three Musketeers.”