Turkish President looks for other options as EU push stalls

World Today

For the past decade, Turkey has been pursuing full membership in the European Union. But that pursuit has not gone far. It appears that a China-Russia-led organization could be next.

CCTV’s Michal Bardavid reports.
Follow Michal Bardavid on Twitter @michal_bardavid

Turkish President looks for other options as EU push stalls

For the past decade, Turkey has been pursuing full membership in the European Union. But that pursuit has not gone far. It appears that a China-Russia-led organization could be next. CCTV's Michal Bardavid reports.

It was 2005 when Turkey began its’ accession talks with the EU. Yet clearly not enough progress has been made, and becoming a full EU member seems more distant than ever

Following July’s coup attempt in Turkey, the Turkish government expected support from EU countries, but instead it received criticism. That was due to Turkey’s strong reaction to the coup, a crackdown that led to over 120,000 people being sacked or suspended.

The European Parliament took matters a step further by voting to freeze Turkey’s accession talks in reaction to the crackdown, though the vote was non-binding, it sent a loud message to Ankara.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan was not late to respond, proposing to join the Shanghai Five.

This was not the first time he suggested Turkey to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), of which it is currently a dialogue partner.

Some analysts believe such consideration is not actually a feasible option for Turkey but rather a strategy used by the Turkish government.

If Turkey were to join the SCO, the consequences would likely be serious; it would most likely put more tension on the already strained relations with the EU. Furthermore, it will also potentially create conflicts with its’ NATO allies as well.

Following Erdogan’s statement, Turkish Prime Minister stressed that the SCO was not actually an alternative to the EU. And the two are no doubt very different in structures. While the EU has specific effects on the daily lives of the citizens living in the bloc, the SCO stands out as a more political organization.

Plus, experts also emphasize that benefits of being an SCO member are also very different.

Though joining the SCO does not seem very likely for Turkey, joining the EU seems just as distant. A matter President Erdogan might be taking to the public next year with a potential referendum on EU membership in 2017.


Peter Vincent on Turkey and SCO

To further discuss Turkey’s push to join SCO, CCTV America’s Elaine Reyes spoke with Peter Vincent, former Department of Justice and US Embassy attaché in Colombia.