NATO-member Turkey said it aims to become a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on Saturday, Turkish broadcaster NTV reported.
“Our relations with these countries will be moved to a much different position with this step,” Turkey president Tayyip Erdogan said to reporters at the SCO summit. “Of course [membership], that’s the target.”
Joining China, Russia, Iran
Turkey is currently a dialogue partner of the SCO, whose members are China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Members met on Thursday for the group’s 2022 annual summit hosted by Uzbekistan, with Turkey also present.
The meeting was China leader Xi Jinping’s first foreign trip since the start of the pandemic. He urged allies to help each other stop foreign powers instigating internal uprisings in their nations, which he referred to as “colour revolutions.”
Amid bilateral discussions at the summit, Erdogan had talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Erdogan said Turkey and Russia had reached a deal resolving a dispute over a nuclear power plant being built at Akkuyu in southern Turkey.
NTV reported Erdogan as saying that the Turkish contractor IC Ictas had been reinstated in the project, confirming comments by two sources on Friday.
Last month, the Russian state nuclear energy company Rosatom, which is running the project, terminated its contract with IC Ictas over what it called “numerous violations”.
“God willing we will be able to finish and inaugurate the first (Akkuyu) unit in 2023,” Erdogan added.
- Reuters, with additional editing from Alfie Habershon