Turkey seeking membership in Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, says Erdoğan

NATO-member Turkey is aiming for membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday.

The Turkish leader made the remarks during while addressing reporters following the SCO summit in Uzbekistan before heading to the United States, Turkish NTV network reported.

Turkey is among several “dialogue partners” of the SCO, a Eurasian political, economic and security organization. Founded in 2001, its members include Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

“Our relations with these countries will be moved to a much different position with this step,” NTV cited Erdoğan as saying. 

When asked if he meant membership of the SCO, the Turkish leader said, “Of course, that’s the target.”

Seen as the eastern counterpart of NATO, the SCO has conducted joint military exercises. But the group is neither a formal defence alliance akin to the NATO alliance, nor an official economic union resembling the EU. 

The Turkish president also told reporters on Saturday Turkey and Russia had reached a deal resolving a dispute over the Akkuyu nuclear power plant under construction in southern Turkey.

Turkish contractor IC İçtaş had been reinstated in the project, NTV cited Erdoğan as saying.

Last month, Russian state nuclear energy company Rosatom announced that it terminated a contract with  IC İçtaş, citing "numerous violations" in the construction of a $20 billion nuclear power plant, Reuters reported.

The first Akkuyu unit is slated to be finished and inaugurated in 2023, Erdoğan said. 

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