Turkey and SCO. How to Enter the European Union at Any Cost

23.11.2016

The prospect of Turkey's entry to the EU after 11 years of negotiations still remains very vague. Tired of waiting for the loyalty of the European leaders, Ankara actively began to study possible membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). "Turkey should first of all feel relaxed about the EU and not be fixated”, it does not need to join the European Union "at all costs", the Hurriyet newspaper quotes words of theTurkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoga. According to Viktor Nadein-Raevsky, Valdai Club expert and Researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Erdogan is trying to put pressure on the EU partners and at the same time to strengthen his position in relation to the SCO.

"Erdogan believes that if he puts a corresponding pressure on the EU partners, this will provide an opportunity if not to accelerate Turkey's accession to the EU, then at least to strengthen its position toward the SCO", - Nadein-Raevsky said in an interview to www.valdaiclub.com.

In 2013 Ankara has received the status of SCO dialogue partner, stating that Turkey had "a shared destiny" with members of the organization. However, since then the international situation has radically changed, and Turkey sought with great zeal to share the fate of its Western partners, forgetting about promises to the SCO. And although today the Turkish leader calls relations with Russia quite good (though adding that "all cannot happen at once "), this does not mean that the issue of membership in the SCO is resolved definitively.

"Erdogan got used to play different games. He has multiple targets for each of his actions "- Nadein-Raevsky said.

It is obvious that Turkey's membership in the SCO will bother the West and Turkey's NATO allies. According to Nadein-Raevsky, Erdogan fully understands this, and his statement pursues at least two objectives. "On the one hand, it is an attempt to find a place for Turkey, on the other - to pressure on the Western partners, who do not want to solve the problem of Turkey's accession to the European Union. Anyway, Turkey made too much efforts to do this. Thus, Erdogan's goal is plural ", - the expert said.

Turks have been oriented toward the EU for a long time - and for very pragmatic reasons. "For example, there are payments that the EU carries out to the agricultural states (however, the results are highly questionable, but that is another issue). It is an open market for light industry products. In addition, there is an area of construction. Turkey is interested in expanding the market ", - Nadein-Raevsky said. However, in order to fulfil its interests, Turkey needs to become member of the European Union. "Since this is still impossible, then Erdogan wondered - what can be found to replace the EU?", - the expert added.

Making his statement on the SCO, Erdogan mentioned that Turkey's participation in the SCO would give it more freedom of action. However, Nadein-Raevsky said that the SCO membership cannot fully replace Turkey's hopes regarding the EU. "Nevertheless, it is useful for Turkey to find an opportunity that would give a chance to expand the market in the same SCO states. And as one option fails, why not to try another one? This is what guided Erdogan, "- concluded Nadein-Raevsky.

Last week, Erdogan asked his compatriots to be patient in relations with the EU until the end of the year, saying that a referendum on membership in the European Union could take place in 2017. EU or SCO? In which way the pendulum will swing?

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

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