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KADRİ GÜRSEL > Go all the way west, and you’ll reach Shanghai

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We must have been engaged in more important matters that we failed to notice that the application Turkey filed two years ago at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to obtain “dialogue partner” status was approved during the SCO June 6-7, 2012, summit in Beijing.

When Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan explained Jan. 25 on TV that he had told Russian President Vladimir Putin, “Include us in the Shanghai Five, we’ll forget about the EU,” I finally realized that this SCO is now an important matter of ours.

For the most updated information about Turkey and the SCO relationship, Wikipedia said Turkey, together with Belarus and Sri Lanka, was a “dialogue partner” at the SCO, but I don’t trust Wikipedia…

As a matter of fact, Turkey was not listed among the dialogue partners on the SCO’s official website. Besides, it is an awful site. It does not even have a search engine. I clicked on the official documents of 2011, the year Turkey filed its application for dialogue partnership, in the hopes of perhaps coming across Turkey’s name; altogether, only two documents for meetings appeared from that year.

Well, that is just normal… The official site of an organization of authoritarian, totalitarian, oppressive and closed regimes can only be designed not to give information.

Consequently, I assumed that our state would have the most reliable information on the topic, so I went to the Foreign Ministry’s site at around 7 p.m. Tuesday and clicked on the SCO. There, too, Turkey was not mentioned among the dialogue partners.

And look, what was written there: “Turkey wanted to join the SCO in 2007, 2009 and 2010 as a guest country, but these attempts did not provide any positive results.”

“Finally, an official application was filed with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s letter dated March 23, 2011, for dialogue partner status in the SCO.”

The other evening, when the topic turned to the SCO on CNNTürk’s “Dört Bir Taraf,” and because I believed that every piece of information on the Foreign Ministry site was correct, I said Turkey was not a dialogue partner. I read the two paragraphs above and said, “It seems as if the SCO does not want us either. For Turkey to be a member of the SCO, before forgetting about the EU, it should first abandon NATO.” That was at around 11 p.m.

Wednesday, at around 10 a.m., before I started writing my column, I once more clicked on our Foreign Ministry’s site.

What do you think I saw?

The paragraphs I quoted above on Turkey’s relationship with the SCO were hastily changed between midnight and the morning hours.

The first paragraph that explained “Turkey was rejected in each case when it sought three times to become a guest” had disappeared. The second paragraph that said, “We have applied for dialogue partnership; we are waiting,” had been updated as such:

“Turkey’s dialogue partnership application was approved during the heads of state summit organized in Beijing on June 6-7. … Following the signing of the memorandum of understanding between our country and the SCO, our country will be able participate in the activities of the organization within the framework of the status of dialogue partner.”

I’m sorry I made the Foreign Ministry work after midnight.

Why am I writing all of this?

Until last Friday, it seemed as if Turkey did not have a priority called the SCO. If it did, then the institution headed by Davutoğlu would have focused on the topic and would not have waited for seven-and-a-half months to update its site until a journalist pointed it out. At the website of SETA, the think tank known to be close to that of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), there is not even a single report or study directly about the SCO. The Anatolian bourgeoisie are not yearning and burning for the “SCO.” In the 61st government’s program, it is the EU membership, not the SCO, that is mentioned as a “strategic target.”

However, the SCO that appears to be in our “secret agenda” is now in our open agenda. Turkey and the world should take the prime minister’s jokes seriously.

Go all the way west, and you’ll reach Shanghai

February/01/2013

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