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MOSCOW, November 21. /TASS/. Turkey has not so far submitted an official application for joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Russia's special presidential envoy to the security bloc told TASS on Monday.
The envoy commented on Sunday’s statement of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that it would be more comfortable for Turkey to work as part of the SCO because "the EU has been delaying us for 53 years."
"No official application of Turkey for accession to the SCO in due order as a full-fledged member has been lodged," said Bakhtier Khakimov, who is also Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.
"As for basic criteria - belonging to the region - Turkey is part of the SCO space," he added.
Khakimov recalled that the Turkish leader has repeatedly said that the republic could join the SCO. "Turkey is a dialogue partner," he said. "We will be able to discuss something when there is an official bid."
Turkey’s Haberturk TV channel reported on Sunday that Erdogan told reporters during his trips to Pakistan and Uzbekistan that Turkey sees a realistic alternative to its membership in the European Union in joining the SCO.
"For the first years in the beginning, they invited our prime minister to summits of the EU leaders, and now they are not doing so," Erdogan said. "With Latin America they have cancelled visas, but still make Turkey wait."
He reiterated own words that Turkey "will wait to yearend" how the issue of visa liberalization with EU would be settled.