World Bulletin/News Desk
NATO member Turkey signed up on Friday to became a "dialogue partner" of a security bloc dominated by China and Russia, and declared that its destiny is in Asia.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Friday said that the memorandum of understanding signed with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was a declaration of a "common destiny."
"This is really a historic day for us," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in Kazakhstan's commercial capital Almaty after signing a memorandum of understanding with Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Secretary General Dmitry Mezentsev.
Davutoglu, who was on a formal visit to Kazakhstan said "Today we announce that as Turkey, our destiny is the same as those states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization." "The partnership would strengthen Turkey's ties with the organization especially in the fields of economy and transportation, and would provide the opportunity of collectively fighting against threats," Davutoglu added.
China, Russia and four Central Asian nations - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - formed the SCO in 2001 as a regional security bloc to fight threats posed by radical Islam and drug trafficking from neighbouring Afghanistan.
Since then, Central Asia's former imperial master Russia has watched with unease China's economic expansion in the resource-rich region, with Beijing investing billions of dollars in oil and gas and issuing large loans to local governments.
Turkey has displayed interest in closer ties with the SCO at a time when it is upset by the slow progress of accession talks with the European Union.
Ankara began talks on joining the EU in 2005 but has only completed one of the 35 policy areas, or "chapters", every candidate must conclude to be allowed entry due to disagreements largely over the divided island of Cyprus.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has called Turkey's wait to join the bloc "unforgivable" and has accused Brussels of not being a fair or genuine negotiating partner.
While China vies with Russia and the West for access to Central Asia's vast natural resources, some analysts view the SCO as a potential counter-balance to NATO.
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan speak Turkic languages, and while pledging to cooperate with the SCO economically and in fighting terrorist threats and drug trade together, Davutoglu stressed common historic roots.
"Turkey will be part of a family, which is composed of the countries which lived together not for centuries - for millennia," he said.
Turkey's "dialogue partner" status, also granted to Sri Lanka and ex-Soviet state Belarus, is below that of observer status held by India, Pakistan, Mongolia, Iran and Afghanistan which participate in SCO meetings but have no right to vote.
Davutoglu, upbeat and smiling, stressed however that this status was "just the beginning".
"I hope at the next summit in (the Kyrgyz capital) Bishkek we will be present, as well as at ministerial meetings," Davutoglu said. "This is the beginning of a long way, walking together, hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder."
Thursday’s dailies cover the clashes between ISIL and the pro-Kurdish Democratic Union party in Kobani and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks at the opening of the country’s new legislative year.
Turkey will speed up the process of nuclear power plant construction, said Turkish energy minister following talks with Russian energy officials.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu compared the Syrian regime to the ISIL.
"If this massacre attempt achieves its goal it will end the process," said Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Turkey had warned Kurdish and Syrian fighters to unite against ISIL, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.
The advanceof ISIL insurgents to within sight of the Turkish army on the Syrian border has piled pressure on Ankara to play a greater role in the U.S.-led coalition.
"Immediately subsequent to the 2015 elections, all parties in the parliament should free themselves from prejudice and come together to write a new constitution based on reconciliation," Erdogan said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said "We will fight effectively against both ISIL and all other terrorist organizations within the region; this will always be our priority."
Concerns Kiev could stop gas flow to Turkey and construction of nuclear plant on agenda for Taner Yildiz.
Turkish government's motion for military action against ISIL is extensively covered by Turkish dailies on Wednesday.
The Syrian Kurdish People’s Defence Units (PYD), a strong affiliate of the Kurdish separatist PKK terrorist organization, asked for weapons from Turley to fight the ISIL.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker called on Turkey to 'lift barriers' for American investment in the country.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said a special 'solution process council' will guide government's efforts to solve the Kurdish issue.
The newly-submitted motion, seeking parliamentary mandate for military action, cites the rising threats on southern borders as a motive.
A Turkish warship was harrassed in international waters, while a Turkish training aircraft was tracked in international air space.
Turkey's energy minister says the strength of the dollar has made next month's price hike inevitable. But Turkish consumers currently pay lowest prices for gas among EU countries.