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Erdogan Says Turkey Seeks SCO Membership

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SCO Summit - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.09.2022
ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Ankara aims to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
Erdogan said that he took part in the recent SCO summit as a special guest at the invitation of this year's host, Uzbekistan.
"We certainly have a special relationship with Mr. Shavkat [Mirziyoyev, President of Uzbekistan]. Because of this relationship, he invited me and Mr. Ilham [Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan] here as special guests," Erdogan told a press pool aboard his plane.
He said that Ankara's next step would be a move to the most advanced level of work, which would "probably be higher on the agenda during the negotiations in India, the next host."
"To be a member or not to be are different matters, but our relations with these countries will be upgraded to a completely different level because of this step," Erdogan noted.
When asked if he means Turkey's possible accession to the SCO, Erdogan responded affirmatively. "Of course. This is our goal," the Turkish president said.
Participants attend the meeting in expanded format of the 22nd Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Heads of State Council (SCO-HSC) Summit, in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.09.2022
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The SCO is an international organization founded by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Russia and Uzbekistan in 2001. In 2017, India and Pakistan were also admitted to the organization. The SCO's observer countries include Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia, while partner countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey.
The SCO also launched the procedure for granting a dialogue partner status to Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in September 2021. In July 2022, Belarus submitted its application to join the SCO as a full-fledged member, and the accession procedure was launched earlier on Friday.
Iran signed a memorandum of commitment to SCO full membership at the Samarkand summit on Thursday.
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