Turkey can be observer to Shanghai 5: CHP chief
BEIJING - Hürriyet Daily News
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (L) meets with Li Yuanchao, who serves on the Politburo of the Communist Party of China, during a visit to Beijing.Turkey joining the Shanghai Five organization as an observer member is important for peace and stability in the regional and global sense, the country’s main opposition leader has said, voicing full support for the further developing of economic, political and strategic ties with China, the world’s leading economy and power.
“We have emphasized the importance we attach to Turkey’s observer status at the organization. We have underlined that this sort of cooperation is vital for maintaining peace and stability,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on Monday, following intense meetings with senior members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Accompanied by a large delegation composed of businessmen and journalists, Kılıçdaroğlu and his senior aides are continuing their week-long visit to China upon the invitation of the CCP. On his second day in Beijing, Kılıçdaroğlu was hosted by Wang Jiarui, minister of the CCP Central Committee’s International Department, Nan Zhenzhong, vice president of the Chinese People’s Congress Foreign Relations Committee and Li Yuanchao, member of the Politburo of the Central Committee. As a young, active and respected politician, Yuanchao is being seen as among the potential leadership candidates of the CCP.
“We have been treated as a state host and a very special protocol was offered from the moment we arrived in China,” deputy CHP leader Erdoğan Toprak said Monday.
A highly prestigious Space Technologies Research Academy hosted the CHP for almost half a day, briefing them about developments and cooperation with Turkey in this field. The Chinese side gave a model satellite as a present to Kılıçdaroğlu.
Talks on Monday focused on party-to-party relations, economic, trade and political issues, according to information provided by the architect of this trip, Faruk Loğoğlu, deputy party leader and veteran diplomat.
Kılıçdaroğlu and his counterparts talked enthusiastically about their willingness to further develop ties between the CHP and the CCP.
In addition to the visit at the leader level, the parties have also agreed on creating opportunities for their respective women and youth branches to come together. Kılıçdaroğlu said he had extended an invitation to the CCP’s aforementioned branches to pay a visit to Turkey.
“We are very much in favor of further developing Turkey-China bilateral relations in the economic, industrial, trade and cultural fields. We, as the CHP, are going to do our best to this end,” Kılıçdaroğlu told Yuanchao during the visit, according to Anatolia news agency.
Yuanchao expressed his belief that the mutual understanding between the two countries would further increase, saying “ties between the two parties will also contribute to overall bilateral relations.”
Kılıçdaroğlu also said he had highlighted the trade volume between the two was developing to the disadvantage of Turkey, and demanded more Chinese investment in Turkey to compensate this negativity.
When asked about his opinion on potential Turkish membership to the Shanghai Five, Kılıçdaroğlu supported the government’s bid to become an observer state at the organization, underlining that the group’s existence was important to “maintaining the balance between world powers.”
The Shanghai Five was created in 1996 by Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, in a move aimed at balancing the growing American influence in Asia.
Following his visit to Moscow last July, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had joked that Turkey may discard its European Union bid if it was accepted by the Shanghai Five.
“I said to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin: ‘You tease us asking what Turkey is doing in the EU. But now I tease you: include us in the Shanghai Five and we will forget about the EU,’” he said.
Similar stance on Syria
The ongoing turmoil in Turkey’s neighbor, Syria, which has so far claimed the lives of nearly 60,000 people has also been on the agenda of Turkish and Chinese officials. Kılıçdaroğlu stressed that both parties shared similar views on the developments in Syria and denounced calls for international intervention.
“We have clearly explained our position and they have not said they disagree,” he said.
Stressing that the CHP’s priority was to end the bloodshed in Syria and to achieve peace and comfort in the region, Kılıçdaroğlu said China should understand its responsibility. “We reminded them about their duty to end this bloodshed, as members of the U.N. Security Council. China, Russia and the United States have weight, so we ask them to fulfill their responsibilities,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu reiterated the CHP’s position with regard to whether a political transition in Syria would be completed with or without Bashar al-Assad. “What is important for us is to end the bloodshed, whether or not al-Assad goes or stays,” he said.
He also repeated his proposal to hold an international conference with the participation of Russia, China, the U.S., and Iran to solve the problem, while acknowledging the progress that has been made in the implementation of the Geneva Agreement brokered by Russia last year. The agreement leaves al-Assad’s future vague while proposing a transitional period.