Aiming to become a member of the Shanghai Pact, whose members are countries where “one-man rule” is predominant, will only cause more problems for Turkey’s foreign policy, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Öztürk Yılmaz has said.
His words came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once again suggested that the Shanghai Pact could be an alternative group for Turkey to join instead of the EU.
Yılmaz, who is CHP’s deputy chair responsible for foreign relations, said Ankara was already carrying out dialogue with the Russian-led Shanghai Pact and these relations could be improved, but the group could not be an alternative to the EU.
He stressed that it cannot be compared with “either NATO or the EU.”
“First of all, in the Shanghai Pact there is no common operative hierarchy similar to NATO. There is no structured strong army establishment. There is a group that is formed on the axis of fighting terror. Secondly, it is not a group similar to the EU at all,” said Yılmaz, stressing that it was formed to fight against ethnic-religious radicalism and extremism.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), also known as the “Shanghai Five” or the Shanghai Pact, is a loose security and economic bloc led by Russia and China. The other formal members are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Erdoğan once again raised the prospect of Turkey joining the SCO while speaking to a group of journalists on the presidential plane returning from an official visit to Uzbekistan.
“Turkey should feel relaxed about the EU and not be fixated on it … Some may criticize me but I express my opinion. For example, I have said ‘why shouldn’t Turkey be in the Shanghai 5?’” he said.