Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to let Turkey join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) during a joint press conference the two leaders held in St. Petersburg.

“Include us in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and relieve us from this pain,” Erdoğan told Putin in an implicit reference to Turkey’s long European Union membership process.

On Friday, Erdoğan first had a tête-à-tête with Putin and then the two leaders attended the fourth meeting of the High Level Cooperation Council (ÜDİK), which was created between the two countries on May 12, 2010. Erdoğan, accompanied by a group of Turkish ministers and journalists, has been in St. Petersburg since Thursday for top-level talks and was due to return to Turkey late Friday.

“Besides, we are also ready to ink free trade agreements with countries in Eurasia,” added Erdoğan.

Evaluating Ukraine’s decision to suspend preparations for signing a free trade and a political association agreement with the EU, Putin, in a teasing comment, said Russia is eager to make use of Turkey’s experience with the European bloc. The Turkish prime minister responded in a similar way to Putin on Turkish-EU ties, saying: “Well said. Turkey has 50 years of experience.”

Erdoğan said he has spoken about Turkey’s request to be a member of the SCO to Putin before, adding that Turkey attaches importance to this issue… see more

source: todayszaman