‘Erdogan needs success in foreign policy for election’

Yunus Ulger

WALL – The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, received wide coverage in the German press. The comments were made about the membership declaration of Turkey, a NATO country, and the ‘purpose’ of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It was argued that Erdogan was “disappointed with the West and NATO, he needed success in foreign policy to win the election, and he made his membership statement for this purpose”. The SCO Summit was described as a new ‘world order’ against the Western world.


Der Spiegel, one of Germany’s leading news magazines, described Erdogan’s statement of membership to the SCO as “a message to the West”. It was argued that Turkey was disappointed with NATO, and it was stated that there has been no progress since 1999 in the European Union (EU) membership process. It was also written that Turkey has common interests with Russia and that SCO members account for 30 percent of the world’s economy.


The news site RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland described the SCO as “a new “world order” against the Western-dominated world. Commenting that “Erdogan has never been more valuable to Putin,” the site suggested that a NATO country’s president taking part in the summit would be a “good propaganda tool against the West” by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Contrary to the first statement of the Bayraktar Group, the news website asserting that Russia and Turkey could cooperate for the group’s UAVs, wrote that in return, Russia could “make concessions” to Turkey on Syria, Libya and Azerbaijan issues. Pointing to Putin and Erdogan, comments were made that “they have in common: rejecting the West, suppressing the opposition, clinging to the media, confrontational foreign policy and yearning for old empires”.


The left-leaning Taz newspaper published in Berlin described the world’s well-known and influential dictators as one. Erdogan, on the other hand, was described as “a traveler between different worlds”. Claiming that Erdogan is a leader ‘against the West and its institutions’, Taz stated that Erdogan ‘feels good at the summit’ and that he had bilateral meetings with Cinping and Putin even though he is not a member of the organization. Stating that inflation is approaching 100 percent in Turkey, the newspaper wrote that Erdogan ‘needs capital and cheap natural gas’. For this reason, he claimed that he did not want to jeopardize cooperation with China due to pressure on the Uighurs.

Rainer Munz, the Russian representative of the news channel n-tv, argued that Erdogan “needs success in foreign policy to win the election”. Munz stated that Erdogan’s desire to become a member of the SCO should be evaluated in this context. Defending the need not to overstate the SCO, Munz wrote that the member countries of the organization have big bilateral problems and gave examples of India-Pakistan, China-India.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization was established in 2001 with the aim of ‘fighting terrorism’. Currently, the People’s Republic of China, Russian Federation, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan and Iran are members of the organization, while Afghanistan, Mongolia and Belarus are observer members. Turkey, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar are dialogue partners.