Chinese President Hu Jintao announced at the closing session of the summit that the organization would admit Turkey as one of its three dialogue partners. Other dialogue partners of the organization are Belarus and Sri Lanka.
At the summit Afghanistan was granted observer status in the Central Asia group, a move designed to bolster relations with the war-torn country, as Western countries have seemingly embarked on an irreversible process of withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Cheng Guo Ping stated that the border security of Afghanistan is of critical importance for SCO members. He said Turkey, which has close ties with members of the organization, is a key actor in the region, and that the acceptance of Turkey and Afghanistan would contribute to the ongoing fight against terrorism, separatism, extremism, illegal activity at borders and drug trafficking in the region, in collaboration with SCO members.
In remarks made to the Cihan news agency on Thursday, Murat Salim Esenli, Turkey's ambassador to China, said the acceptance of Turkey as a dialogue partner should be regarded as a natural and expected development, given proactive Turkish diplomacy in the region and beyond, as well as historical and cultural ties with countries in Central Asia. Esenli asserted that Turkey will cooperate with the SCO in fighting terrorism and will seek to boost economic ties with members.
The recent visit of Erdoğan to China in April was a critical factor in China's decision to accept Turkey as a dialogue partner. Turkey's relations with countries in the region will be consequently diversified and enriched. Moreover, close cooperation with the SCO will be likely to advance Turkey's position on various international platforms.