• KGS/USD = 0.01181 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00210 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09404 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01181 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00210 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09404 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01181 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00210 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09404 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01181 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00210 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09404 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01181 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00210 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09404 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01181 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00210 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09404 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01181 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00210 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09404 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01181 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00210 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09404 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 10

Erdogan: Turkey Wants to Become Full SCO Member

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced his country's aspiration to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), at a press conference in Washington after the conclusion of the NATO summit. "Turkey's goal, which is now an observer in the SCO, is full membership. Now, it should join the Shanghai Five," Erdogan stated. The Turkish president attended the SCO summit held in Astana on July 3-4. SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming said that despite its membership of NATO, Turkey actively participates in the organization's activities, which are not directed against other states. He emphasized that interaction with Ankara is based on the principles set out in the SCO charter and is in line with the "Shanghai spirit."

SCO Summit: A Battle for Influence in Central Asia

For Central Asian countries, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a tool that allows them to improve their position in the global arena, and develop closer economic ties with other members of the world’s largest multilateral group. But for Russia and China, the SCO is an instrument that gives them an opportunity to strengthen their influence in the strategically important region of Central Asia. Last week, the SCO (whose members are Russia, China, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, as well as Belarus, the entrant at the meeting in Astana on July 3-4) held the summit of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO in the Kazakh capital of Astana where its leaders adopted a series of documents – from the Astana Declaration, underscoring the organization’s role in bolstering global peace, security and stability, through the SCO Development Strategy until 2035, to the group’s Economic Development Strategy’s Action Plan until 2030. Prior to the meeting of what is often described as “the world’s least known and least analyzed” multilateral group, Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev repeatedly stated that, over the past 20 years it was not possible to implement a single major economic project under the auspices of the SCO. Indeed, ever since its foundation in 2001, the SCO has mostly been focusing on security issues, and during the summit in Astana security was yet again at the top of the agenda. But as the largest Central Asian nation’s Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko told me at the briefing with the foreign journalists on July 4, SCO members still work more on a bilateral rather than on a multilateral basis. In his view, advancing economic cooperation within the organization of very diverse nations is not an easy task. Quite aware of that, China seeks to strengthen its economic presence in Central Asia through other formats such as the Belt and Road Initiative, and the China-plus-Central Asia format. In the past, Beijing was actively pushing for closer economic integration between SCO members, but Russia reportedly blocked Chinese initiatives. As a result, the People’s Republic began to sign bilateral agreements with regional countries, aiming to strengthen its role in Central Asia. Kazakhstan, as the region’s largest economy, is no exception. Despite being a Russian ally in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and a member of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, Astana seems to see Beijing, rather than Moscow, as the de facto leader of the SCO. As Vassilenko stressed, out of 10,000 people who came to Astana for the summit, more than half of them were Chinese, which indicates that the SCO holds a huge importance in Beijing’s foreign policy. Moreover, Chinese President Xi Jinping seems to have received a warmer welcome in the Kazakh capital than Russian leader Vladimir Putin or the heads of states of other SCO members. At the airport, where Xi was welcomed by his Kazakh counterpart Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, a group of Kazakh children sang the song "Ode to the Motherland" in Chinese, while Chinese...

Tokayev Calls For Expanded SCO to Play Greater Role on Global Stage

A meeting entitled “Strengthening Multilateral Dialogue – Striving for Sustainable Peace and Development” was held to conclude the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Astana on July 4. The meeting was was held in the "SCO Plus" format. and was attended by the leaders of the SCO full member states who participated in the Summit earlier in the day, plus leaders of the organization's observer countries and dialogue partners. These included the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, presidents Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The SCO Plus session of the Summit took on greater importance this year, amid suggestions that the alliance is primed to expand next year. Countries interested in joining the SCO as full members include Turkey, Qatar and Egypt.  In his speech at the meeting, Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasized the role that the SCO can play as a stabilizing force in the international arena. “Today the world is faced with serious challenges caused by unprecedented geopolitical contradictions and growing conflict potential,” said Tokayev. “The international security architecture is under threat, which could lead to dire consequences for all of humanity. In such a fateful period, we are entrusted with a huge responsibility for strengthening peace, stability, and security through collective efforts at the regional and global levels. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, taking into account its authority, significant economic and human resources, is capable of developing effective solutions to achieve sustainable development goals and overcome modern challenges.”  Concerning the role of the United Nations, Tokayev said that its potential is far from being exhausted. “Our common task is to strengthen the role of the UN as the main international institution for ensuring global security, capable of effectively confronting the challenges of the 21st century. The voice of the SCO should and will sound louder in the international arena, promoting a consolidated position on various problems of our time,” he emphasized. In his own speech, Gutteres referred to the SCO as "a valuable partner of the United Nations". With reference to strengthening trade and economic ties, Tokayev said: “At the current stage, the economies of the SCO member countries are demonstrating high growth rates of 4% to 9%. The share of the SCO states in global GDP is 30% already. Today, the foreign trade of the SCO participating countries exceeds $8 trillion, which is equivalent to a quarter of all world trade.”  Tokayev emphasized the fact that economic growth in Asia is largely due to the SCO states. On behalf of Kazakhstan, he also welcomed China’s intention to expand access for SCO countries to its market, and increase trade turnover with the SCO member states to $3 trillion. “It is important for us to fully unleash the colossal economic potential of the SCO. The interaction of the SCO with such integration associations as the EAEU, BRICS and ASEAN opens up broad prospects. A powerful driver for sustainable growth in global trade is further strengthening of transport connectivity. More than...

SCO Summit: Eurasian Alliance Signs Security Agreements; Welcomes Belarus

By Jonathan Campion, reporting from the SCO Summit in Astana   At the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Astana this morning, leaders from the bloc’s member states signed a host of agreements intended to promote cohesion in the Eurasia region. The first session, which was held behind closed doors, had begun with the signing of the document that accepted Belarus as the SCO’s 10th full member. The SCO is a political, security and economic alliance, of which Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are founding members. The group also includes China, Russia, Iran, India, Pakistan, and now Belarus. The organization has four observer states and 14 dialogue partners, covering half of the world’s population, and almost a third of global GDP.  The first agreement signed was a document outlining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s development strategy for the next 12 months. In 2025 Kazakhstan will pass chairmanship of the alliance to China, and there is speculation that the SCO may grow further next year, to include at least one new member. With security a growing concern for members, particularly in light of the March terrorist attack outside Moscow, for which the terror group Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) have claimed responsibility, leaders approved the SCO’s latest three-year Cooperation Program to counter terrorism, separatism and extremism. The parties also signed an agreement on the organization’s regional anti-drug strategy. Another high-profile document is the SCO’s development strategy for cooperation in the energy sphere. Kazakhstan is at the forefront of the region’s transition to green energy, with Chinese leader Xi Jinping mentioning the country’s new Zhanatas wind farm and the Turgusun hydropower station as key joint projects with China in an article published in the Kazakh press this week. The heads of state were welcomed to the Summit by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus and Chinese leader Xi Jinping the last to arrive, ten minutes after the other dignitaries. Some leaders did not arrive at all: India’s Narendra Modi is not attending this year’s SCO Summit, and has sent the country’s external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in his place.  The Summit's afternoon session is styled as "SCO Plus". In attendance are the heads of state of the alliance's dialogue partners, including the presidents of Turkey and Azerbaijan, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ilham Aliyev. Turkmenistan – which is not affiliated to the SCO but which is invited as a guest – is led not by its President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, but by his father Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the former leader who is now the chairman of the country’s People’s Council.  

SCO Round-Up

The Times of Central Asia is reporting live from the SCO Summit in Astana. Kazakhstan’s Red Carpet Astana put on a fireworks show on Wednesday night as dignitaries gathered in the Kazakh capital for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional forum for talks on security, economic and other issues. The event is a chance for landlocked, resource-rich Kazakhstan to showcase its culture, hospitality and rising diplomatic profile at a time when wars in Ukraine and Gaza, along with big power tension and the threat of climate change, tend to dominate headlines. High-stepping honor guards, motorcycle escorts, military marching bands and greeters in glittering traditional costumes welcomed the leaders arriving in Astana, which boasts a collection of shiny, futuristic-looking buildings that were constructed with the help of Kazakhstan’s oil wealth after independence from Soviet rule in 1991. The nine full members of the SCO are India, Iran, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Belarus is expected to become a new member at this week’s summit.   Putin to Tokayev: I’ll Be Back Russian President Vladimir Putin, responding to an invitation to visit Kazakhstan again, has suggested that he will return on a state trip in November. Putin spoke about another visit in a conversation on Wednesday with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Astana, Russia’s official news agency, TASS has reported. "I believe this is simply necessary to maintain the pace of cooperation between our countries,” Tokayev said. “I hope to see you again, this time on a state visit to our country.” According to Tass, Putin thanked Tokayev and said: “Of course, it is most rational to do it in connection with the summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Thank you for the invitation; I certainly accept it." Kazakhstan has the rotating chairmanship of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, or CSTO. The security alliance includes Russia and the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Armenia. However, Armenia appears close to pulling out of the alliance because it feels betrayed by Russia its’ inaction when rival Azerbaijan made military gains over Armenia.   Erdogan to Putin: Let’s Trade Türkiye, which holds the status of “dialogue partner” in the SCO and treads a delicate line in the war between Russia and Western-backed Ukraine, wants to boost trade with Moscow. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian leader Vladimir Putin met in Astana on Wednesday. “The Turkish president expressed confidence in reaching the ambitious trade volume goal of $100 billion, citing strong potential for growth in bilateral relations,” Türkiye's official Anadolu news agency stated. Reports have indicated trade between the two countries was above $65 billion in the last couple of years. Anadolu quoted Erdogan as saying that “we can take serious steps” on plans for the Sinop Nuclear Power Plant in Türkiye's Black Sea region. Russia is potentially a partner in that electricity-producing project. Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear energy agency, is currently building Türkiye’s first nuclear power plant in...

Two-Dimensional Outlook Characterizes Western Media Response to SCO Summit

The Western media’s binary response to the latest Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana creates an unnecessary – and perhaps unintentional – “us-versus-them” dichotomy. Characterizing the SCO as the “anti-NATO” alliance where China, Russia and Iran come together, this style of coverage makes no mention of the evident efforts of the majority of post-Soviet states to balance Russia’s decades-long influence in the region. It is also notable that the same outlets serving up this black and white coverage are not even in attendance at the summit, preferring to take aim from abroad. Central Asian states cannot escape the realities of their geography and have to largely rely on Russia and China for their economic prosperity. At the same time, their future independence requires that they are a respected part of the international rules-based order as well as on their increased contribution to global supply chains. Kazakhstan’s recent democratic reforms are in direct contrast to the authoritarian image cast on so-called “anti-NATO” countries. Armenia has announced plans to quit Russia’s Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) military alliance. Generally, the countries in the region have – with different degrees of enthusiasm – implemented a multi-vector foreign policy, including following international sanctions against Russia and issuing statements supporting the “territorial integrity of Ukraine.” Uzbekistan’s courts even went so far as to convict a citizen for joining Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. Those looking to force an antiquated one-size-fits-all Cold War paradigm on Central Asia will ultimately be frustrated. The ongoing SCO event in Astana is bringing together a mainly Eastern-centric group of leaders speaking about deeper cooperation among the Organization’s members. While the Western press may simply decry this gathering as anti-Western, the fact that Central Asia stood in support of international sanctions against Russia and stayed neutral in the conflict with Ukraine, much to the chagrin of Vladimir Putin and his retinue, shows the region holds more shades of grey than stark black and white. Central Asia cannot be expected to fall entirely into the orbit of Western or Eastern leaning powers. The region’s republics will, and should, aim to be aligned with both. Arguably, the West, Russia, and China may all be disappointed in the end, but that outcome may well be in the best interests of the Central Asian states.