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Monday, November 21, 2016

Erdogan says Turkey can spurn EU and join Shanghai Pact!

Erdogan says Turkey  can spurn EU and join Shanghai Pact

ISTANBUL: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey should not be “fixated” on joining the EU and has reiterated the idea of joining Russia and China in a Eurasian security group, local media reported on Sunday. 

His comments come as Turkey’s decades-long hopes of joining the European Union have reached a nadir, driven by the aftermath of the July 15 botched coup. “Turkey should first of all feel relaxed about the EU and not be fixated” about joining it, Erdogan told Turkish journalists on a plane from Uzbekistan, media reported.

“Some may criticise me but I express my opinion. For example, I say ‘why shouldn’t Turkey be in the Shanghai 5?,” he said. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) — also called the Shanghai Pact — is a loose security and economic bloc led by Russia and China. 
Other members are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.Erdogan said he had already discussed the idea with Russian President Vladimir Putin and with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Erdogan has several times floated plans for Turkey to join the SCO, a move that could scupper its long-standing EU membership bid. The SOC option became clouded, though, when a Russian warplane was downed by the Turkish air force last November. 
Turkish media reported in August that Nazarbayev mediated a deal between Ankara and Moscow to smooth over the dispute. Turkey formally applied to become an EU member in 1987 and accession talks only began in 2005, even though Ankara’s aspirations to become part of the bloc dates back to the 1960s. — AFP

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