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Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

"Turkey might join SCO instead of EU"

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by 2 Jurors

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), or Shanghai Pact, is a Eurasian political, economic, and military organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of the People's Republic of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. These countries, except for Uzbekistan had been members of the Shanghai Five, founded in 1996; after the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the organisation. On July 10, 2015, the SCO decided to admit India and Pakistan as full members.

India and Pakistan signed the memorandum of obligations on 24 June 2016 at Tashkent, thereby starting the formal process of joining the SCO as a full member, the process will take some months, by which they are expected to become full members by the next meeting at Astana in 2017.

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geopolitics.panjury.com

Geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables. These include area studies, climate, topography,...

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President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted on Sunday as saying that Turkey did not need to join the European Union "at all costs" and could instead become part of a security bloc dominated by China, Russia and Central Asian nations.

NATO member Turkey's prospects of joining the EU look more remote than ever after 11 years of negotiations. European leaders have been critical of its record on democratic freedoms, while Ankara has grown increasingly exasperated by what it sees as Western condescension.

"Turkey must feel at ease. It mustn't say 'for me it's the European Union at all costs'. That's my view," Erdogan was quoted by the Hurriyet newspaper as telling reporters on his plane on the way back from a visit to Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

"Why shouldn't Turkey be in the Shanghai Five? I said this to (Russian President) Mr Putin, to (Kazakh President) Nazarbayev, to those who are in the Shanghai Five now," he said.

"I hope that if there is a positive development there, I think if Turkey were to join the Shanghai Five, it will enable it to act with much greater ease."

China, Russia and four Central Asian nations -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in 2001 as a regional security bloc to fight threats posed by radical Islam and drug trafficking from neighboring Afghanistan.

Turkish membership of the SCO, which had initially not included Uzbekistan and been known as the Shanghai Five, would be likely to alarm Western allies and fellow NATO members.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan speak Turkic languages, and Ankara signed up in 2013 as a "dialogue partner" saying it shared "the same destiny" as members of the bloc.

Mongolia, India, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan are SCO observers, while Belarus, like Turkey, is a dialogue partner.

Dialogue partners are entitled to take part in ministerial-level and some other meetings of the SCO, but do not have voting rights.

Erdogan last week urged Turks to be patient until the end of the year over relations with Europe and said a referendum could be held on EU membership in 2017.

The EU is treading a fine line in relations with Turkey: it needs Ankara's continued help in curbing a huge flow of migrants, especially from Syria, but is alarmed by Turkey's crackdown on opponents since a failed coup attempt in July.

More than 110,000 people have been sacked or suspended since the abortive putsch, and some 36,000 arrested. Media outlets have also been shut down.

The government says the crackdown is justified by the gravity of the threat to the state from the events of July 15, in which more than 240 people were killed.

on November 21, 2016
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geopolitics.panjury.com

Geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables. These include area studies, climate, topography,...

img Keith Braccin posted a review

Both China and Russia have proposed to establish a free trade area between members of the Chinese and Russian-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The Chinese announcement came on Friday, following the successful conclusion of the first meeting of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing. According to a statement made jointly by Qian Keming, the Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce, and Gu Xueming of the Academy, such a free trade area would facilitate regional economic cooperation and would enhance trade and economic cooperation between SCO members.

The proposal also called for the expedited establishment of an SCO development bank, which would provide funding for regional projects together with other multilateral funds and development banks.

The SCO includes China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, with India, Iran and Pakistan poised to join. Dialogue partners include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia and Nepal, along with the existing dialogue partners of Sri Lanka and Turkey. In addition to these countries, Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia are observer nations, while guests include the trade blocs of ASEAN, the CIS and Turkmenistan.​

The proposal therefore raises the potential of a Free Trade Zone with significant countries such as China, India, Iran, Pakistan and Russia, and possibly at a later stage, Turkey.

Qian also called for better coordination and more policy transparency in cross-border investment, noting that protectionism must be avoided. “Investment in infrastructure, industrial cooperation, agriculture, and high-tech areas should be expanded between SCO members,” he said.​

Furthermore, Beijing also suggested that SCO members “should build an economic think tank alliance to offer long-term intelligence support for regional economic cooperation.”​

According to the Chinese media, Rashid Alimov, representative of Tajikistan and the current secretary-general of SCO, responded positively to Gu’s proposal. In the China Daily, he is reported as saying, “An alliance would be an important intelligence platform on which experts from different countries could discuss how to develop regional economic cooperation.”​

Meanwhile, the Russian media has cited a more discreet passage of SCO’s secretary-general.

“Apparently, this proposal has its supporters and those who consider such suggestion a bit premature. I believe that the scientific study of this issue would help in the search for optimal models to fuel trade and economic cooperation,” Russian news agency TASS quoted Alimov as saying. Later in his interview with the TASS, when answering a question about China’s idea of a free trade zone, he called the issue a “very sensitive area due to the different production capabilities of the SCO members”.​

This initiative is also supported by Russia, with President Vladimir Putin being quoted in the Russian Sputnik News Agency that Moscow has proposed integrating the Silk Road concept (One Road, One Belt initiative), the Eurasian Economic Union, the SCO and ASEAN into a “Big Eurasian Partnership”, subsuming most of the trade blocs in Asia and Europe.​

Beijing and Moscow have not yet officially reacted to one another’s proposals. But both will undoubtedly do so at the SCO prime ministers council, which is scheduled to take place in the Kyrgyzstan capital city of Bishkek on November 2-3, 2016.

The proposals for a Shanghai Co-Operation Organisation Free Trade Zone or even a Big Eurasian Partnership are game-changers. Although details have yet to fully emerge, the fact that the highest authorities in both Beijing and Moscow have suggested this means it will almost certainly take place in some form. An FTA that involves China and India, let alone Russia, Pakistan and others is going to be of huge significance. It also absolutely determines where the bulk of China’s Overseas Direct Investment is going to be heading – to Eurasia.

on November 6, 2016
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