Çağdaş Duman

Shanghai Cooperation Organization And Turkey

Date of publication : May 29, 2017 08:54 am
Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) and Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) seen during a summit of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC)

For the first time in history, an empire, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), collapsed by not giving a great battle. So, nations separated from RSFSR have been independent without waging war.  Nations which gained independency at the end of the collapse process of RSFSR that took progress so faster than they could ever guess were suddenly deprived of the security provided by Soviets and the strategic gap appeared started to be filled by Russia, the USA and partially China. Collapse of Soviets revealed regional disagreements being kept under pressure in the period of the Cold War and political Islam started to get power in the region.
A big majority of the assessments exposed after the Cold War, puts forward that conflicts between big powers disappeared in this period and security problems tried to cope with asymmetric threats.  Especially terrorism and other asymmetric threats stand in the first ranks in security agenda and sovereignty struggle between big powers especially in RSFSR geography is clearly continuing.
Chine using its strategic priority in economic development is now far from the ability to turn economic power to military power and to realize important military power projection to out of its borders. So, China’s sovereignty struggle in Eurasia is related to dimensions of economy and energy much more than military. Besides, it has been inevitable to provide security of borders of China, limitless arrival to energy sources, to stop separatist movement in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and that the USA started to look for allies in the region against world hegemony.
‘Colourful revolutions’ in Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan which was the production of Eurasia sovereign project of the USA and military interferences to Afghanistan and Iraq not only narrowed the influence area of Russia but also caught Iran in a trap completely. As a matter of fact, countries in question are nations under Russia’s umbrella until the ‘revolutions’ realizing. These countries are very close to Iran geographically. These developments in the world policy dragged Iran to the east block and it has been inevitable that a potential in Asia against the USA occurred. In addition to this, countries gained independency at the end of the collapse of RSFSR needed an allies block in order to be able to stand.
Existing situation in the world policy made the nation against the USA come together and these countries felt the necessity to establish a coalition in order to provide their own security. As you see, Shanghai Corporation Organization is a production of this necessity. Shanghai Corporation Organization is an organization that established on the axis of Middle Asia to reform unbalanced power which has recently occurred. This organisation was established by the name of the Shanghai Five in April 1996 by China as pioneer, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.  Although the organisation directs the works on the axis of the solutions of the security and border problems as the reason of establishing, it sailed towards a structuring which also contains economical corporation after 1999. This structuring took its last shape with the participation of Uzbekistan in 2001 and ruled a big part of Asia geography with its recent borders. Especially with its progresses in last ten years, China-centred Far East economy has to use bases of this structuring in order to carry this economical power to political area.
From this point of view, the relationship of the organisation with the countries especially such as India, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey is an important sign in permanence. It is vital for the future of the organisation that Pakistan, India and Iran among the countries in the region stay in the observer statue and turn into a focal point of power against the USA day by day. In the last discussion realizing in the shadow of tension between Iran and the USA, it was a subject which made anxious about whether Iran would be lifted to the statue of member country in the discussion of SCO. Before the discussion, Iran had mentioned that it wanted to rise from the statue of observer country to the statue of member country. Iran’s participation demand, in addition to the aim of breaking isolation efforts devoted to itself in an international area, was the reflection of intention of being a more active actor in the international policy by way of SCO by developing an Asia policy. China and Russia stood against the sanction application towards Iran that was suspected about making nuclear bomb and they didn’t approve of giving Iran the statue of member country in order not to strengthen the perception of ‘the block against the USA’, present over SCO.
Beside SCO, there exist some structuring such as Russia-centred Middle Asia Corporation Organization (Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) and Eurasia Economical Development Organization (Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Belarus) in the region. These two organizations united under the name of Eurasia Economical Development Organization in the last process.  Besides this structuring although so many organizations were established to provide the balance in the region, SCO is the most successful among them. SCO is giving similar replies to the works which the USA realizes in the frame of Great Middle East Project in order to get bases in the region. For example we can show the ultimatum which the USA gave to withdraw from air bases which it had got while occupying Afghanistan. Besides, ‘revolutions’ in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan and influence of the USA over these revolutions disturbed the countries in the region. Especially Russia couldn’t accept that these attacks are in the nations called Community of Independent Nations and under its own umbrella. At the end of the works Russia realized in this frame, it is trying to rotate the balance of power in its own favour. We can show the opposition created against Saakaşvili in Georgia and their interferences to Ukraine elections as examples.
It is seen that Putin, after the election in 2000, speeded this intention up much more and tended to make Russia first class power centre again by preparing an international appropriate situation. In this point of view, It is clear that he (as Uzbekistan does) sees Russia’s SCO and influence area in the Middle East of the USA as function and so it is giving importance to SCO more than the other countries are doing. Yet, according to so many experts, it mustn’t be overlooked that Russian diplomacy aims at balance policy by preparing manoeuvre area between East and West, abstains from getting enemy and challenging frankly and tries to reach of its target in a silent way by following a low profile while reaching this aim.
If we are asked to investigate the relationship between Turkey and Shanghai Corporation Organization; Turkey, first of all, applied to the organization called the Shanghai Five to be observer but, it was not accepted. So, Turkey wanted support from Russia and received positive reply from Putin. Although Turkey didn’t want to be outside of this form, it had to push this choice to background in EU process. Beside this, it is an important handicap for Turkey to have an active role in this structuring that Turkey has historical problems with two main powers forming SCO. Especially East Turkistan problem lived with China affected relationship between China and Turkey negatively. But, it is possible that this organization in establishing process may reduce our effectiveness in our native land, the Middle East. If there occurs a structuring like EU, it is possible for Turkey to be pressed between two blocks. Besides, it is possible that Turkey may be damaged economically because of the fact that Russia and China will open their doors to the global bazaar if economic and underground sources and togetherness of the region don’t flow to the south (that Iran and India don’t take part). This organisation whose future we have to guess because of this reason has still inner disagreements. Especially China doesn’t want this organization to be enlarged. China wants the organization to become power in the region by being institutionalized. Yet, although in the meeting of leaders performed in St. Petersburg in June 2002, Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan, pointed that the doors were open to the countries which wanted to collaborate, China, in the meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs performed in Beijing in 7th January 2002, declared that the task of the organization was to turn into an institution and they regarded the acceptance of member negatively. We see that it needs a long time for the continuity of the organization in this statement. Turkey should control this structuring in the direction of its own national benefits.
In addition to this, it should be given some information about energy sources especially Turkistan geography possesses in the region. Turk nations which possess these sources have recently started to stick out since the important deposit fields were discovered. Especially Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have started to be seen in the first rank since petrol and natural gas deposits fields established were discovered. It can be seen that especially Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will have a voice in the world strategy when it is paid attention to their petrol and natural gas deposits fields established. Turk nations which gained their independency after the diffusion of Russia and the collapse of the bipolar world order in second half of the last century should evaluate these sources well.
Eurasia after the Cold War has turned into the cynosure and struggle area of great powers. Balances of the world policy of 21st century will be modified at the end of this struggle. Turkey should get out of cold war paradigms and evaluate the opportunity of multilateral policy whenever it meets.
Turkey shouldn’t come closer to the region with the view point of the USA/NATO/EU but with the view point of its own national benefits, should develop independent and multilateral relations and advance the relations with the region in a positive way.

Çağdaş Duman, a PhD student at Ege University, is the expert on Eurasia affairs. Contact him via: cagdasduman369@gmail.com

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