Turkey not looking for alternative to EU - ex-minister (exclusive)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 1
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
Statement by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Ankara intends to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) does not mean that Turkey is looking for an alternative to the EU in this structure, ex-minister of Turkey for EU Affairs Egemen Bagis told Trend in an interview Aug.1.
He said that this doesn't mean that Turkey is going to endure the whims of the EU either.
Since the day of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic, this country, on the basis of its geographical location and strategic importance, is a member of several international organizations, as well as the founder of some of them.
"Turkey's membership in one international organization is not directed against another international organization," said Bagis.
The ex-minister went on to add that as Turkey is the most Western country of Eastern ones and the easternmost country of West, it will continue to act as a cultural bridge between East and West.
He said that the development of relations between Turkey and the SCO will also promote expansion of cooperation and solidarity in this organization.
He also said that the development of relations with the SCO, which is among the priorities of the EU, is of an important character.
Turkey intends to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), said the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a visit to China.
He said that after India and Pakistan decided to join the SCO, this structure has got a special importance for Turkey.
The heads of the SCO member states, during a meeting July 9-10 in Ufa, Russia, signed documents providing Azerbaijan with the status of the SCO dialogue partner.
For the first time in the SCO's 15-year history, during the summit of the heads of state in Russia's Ufa, it was decided to increase the number of its participants. Documents were signed to start a procedure for accession of India and Pakistan, and Belarus got its status upgraded to that of the observer.
The SCO includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan are the SCO observer states.
Sri Lanka and Turkey also have the dialogue partner status.
Follow the author on Twitter: @rhafizoglu