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Erdogan says Turkey targets SCO membership, will take steps in 2023 India summit

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country "targets" joining in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and will take further steps to be a member of the Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Erdogan said Turkey took part in this year's SCO summit in Uzbekistan's city of Samarkand as a dialogue partner, but might take a further step in the 2023 summit in India as it "targets" membership in this body.

"Since its establishment, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has covered serious distances in the fields of security, economy, and trade, and has continued to expand within this framework," he added.

He highlighted the decisive role played by the Asian continent in the global economy, saying Turkey is firm in further developing its cooperation with continental countries at bilateral and multilateral levels.

Established in 2001, the eight-member SCO aims to strengthen friendly, good neighborly relations and mutual trust among member states.

Turkey participated in the Samarkand summit at the presidential level for the first time since getting the dialogue partner status in the SCO in 2012.

China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, India, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan are its current full members. Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus, and Mongolia are observer states.

The SCO accounts for 40 percent of the world's population and 28 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP).

In a tweet on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian announced that he had signed a memorandum of commitment to join the organization.

"Tonight, in the historical city of Samarkand, I signed the memorandum of commitments of Iran's permanent membership at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, with the [body's] secretary-general," Amir-Abdollahian tweeted.

Presidents of Russia and China, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, respectively on Friday welcomed Iran's imminent full membership in the SCO, expressing readiness to improve interactions with Tehran within the framework of the body.

Iran's full membership in the SCO was announced by the president of Uzbekistan, which was applauded by the participants

Iran's accession to the full SCO membership will be finalized by April 2023.

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