German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on 20 September that he was “very irritated” by Turkey’s intentions to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
“I’m very irritated about this development,” Scholz said at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“This is not an organization that is delivering an important contribution to a good global coexistence,” the leader of one of the most prominent NATO member states went on to add.
Scholz’s comments come just a few days before he is set to visit several Gulf countries, in a desperate bid to find new sources of fuel to avert the collapse of German industries.
Founded in 2001, the SCO – which combined makes up around 30 percent of the global GDP – is a multilateral and global organization that strengthens eastern cooperation to counterbalance US and EU hegemony and western economic sanctions.
It is currently comprised of Russia, India, China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and its latest member, Iran.
NATO member Turkey is currently one of six partner countries.
Last week, Erdogan announced his intention to join the economic bloc, after attending its most recent summit in Uzbekistan, saying: “our relations with these countries will be moved to a much different position with this step.”
Turkey’s unwillingness to sanction Russia for the war in Ukraine, on top of its ongoing economic cooperation with the Kremlin, has set off alarms across the west.
Last week, the Financial Times (FT) reported that both the US and EU have increased pressure on Turkey to impose sanctions on Russia.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that, despite the country’s policy of only enforcing UN-approved sanctions, it has made sure that Turkey does not become a “channel to evade sanctions” imposed by the west on Russia.
Most recently, two major Turkish banks suspended the use of Russia’s Mir payment system due to increased threats of sanctions from western nations.