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Turkey’s Erdogan targets joining Shanghai Cooperation Organisation -media

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ISTANBUL — President Tayyip Erdogan said he was targeting membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) for NATO-member Turkey, broadcaster NTV and other media said on Saturday.

He was speaking to reporters after attending the SCO summit in Uzbekistan before heading to the United States.

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“Our relations with these countries will be moved to a much different position with this step,” Erdogan said.

“When asked if he meant membership of the SCO, he said, “Of course, that’s the target.”

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Turkey is currently a dialog partner of the SCO, whose members are China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Amid bilateral discussions at the summit, Erdogan had talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Erdogan said Turkey and Russia had reached a deal resolving a dispute over a nuclear power plant being built at Akkuyu in southern Turkey.

NTV reported Erdogan as saying that the Turkish contractor IC Ictas had been reinstated in the project, confirming comments by two sources to Reuters on Friday.

Last month, the Russian state nuclear energy company Rosatom, which is running the project, terminated its contract with IC Ictas over what it called “numerous violations.”

“God willing we will be able to finish and inaugurate the first (Akkuyu) unit in 2023,” Erdogan added. (Reporting by Daren Butler, Editing by Louise Heavens)

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