Is Turkey’s possible Shanghai Cooperation membership compatible with NATO membership? – Authors – Ersoy DEDE

Turkey has been one of the most loyal members of NATO since its membership in 1952. Although we have not seen any benefit from NATO until this time, as a part of this alliance, we use all our possibilities, capabilities and capabilities for the benefit of the organization. We used it. And we will continue to use it.


However, it has become inevitable in today’s world for Turkey to follow a multidimensional and multi-layered policy, especially in the context of international relations. We said that in the fight against international terrorism, Turkey is doing the best it can for NATO… Well, what does NATO do in return? He doesn’t lift a finger for Turkey. It’s still fine if it just stays quiet. At the same time, we see that any terrorist organization targeting Turkey is somehow funded by NATO member countries. That ‘principle’; For some reason, the clause “an attack on an alliance member is considered an alliance” becomes useless when it comes to us. While this is the case; No one should criticize our search for new ones in terms of both defense and security and economic relations.


It is precisely in this environment that the President is attending the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to be held in Uzbekistan. Turkey is not a member of the Shanghai quintet, but has the status of “dialogue partner”. So, can he join the organization directly? If so, will this relationship affect our NATO membership?


I asked these questions to the jurist Ebubekir Elmalı, the Deputy Chairman of the Democracy and Unity Association (DEMBİR-DER), which we know for his researches in this field. I share with you the comparative NATO-SCO analysis of Ebubekir Elmalı;

“… First of all, let us state immediately that although both organizations show partial similarities, there are important differences between them in terms of quality, quantity, scope and objectives.

Typologically, NATO is ideological in its aims. Because it is a “defense organization” formed by countries defending the liberal world order during and after the Cold War. It guarantees mutual solidarity and defense in terms of obligations.

The SCO, on the other hand, is a cooperation alliance that complements each other’s interests, not ideological in terms of its aims.

While NATO is only a “defense organization”, the SCO is among the states in Central Asia; It is a more comprehensive organization that includes border, security, economy, especially energy and political cooperation. In this context, the SCO resembles the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which deals with the same issues, rather than NATO, due to its cooperation in border, security, economic and humanitarian issues.

In Article V of the NATO Treaty, theoretically, an attack on a member is considered to be an attack on all members. To this end, by exercising the individual or collective right of self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, members may take all measures, including the use of armed forces, to restore and maintain security in the North Atlantic region.

SCO, on the other hand, aims to preserve peace, strengthen security, increase cooperation and good neighborliness, and there is no collective security emphasis in its founding declaration and no country or international organization is targeted. In addition, since the SCO is not a defense organization, “common defense obligation” is not foreseen against the attack of a state or alliance.

Here is the NATO-SCO comparison of the lawyer Ebubekir Elmalı like this.


As a result, Elmalı says; SCO and NATO are not substitutes for each other. It is not possible for the SCO to provide Turkey with a NATO-like security umbrella. For this reason, it is possible for Turkey to establish a close relationship with the SCO, which includes the Turkic Republics with which it has close geographical, cultural and historical ties, without prejudice to its NATO obligations, technically being a SCO partner should not prejudice its NATO membership.

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