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Is Erdogan giving up on EU aspirations?

A proposal to join the Russian- and Chinese-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization gets lukewarm reception, even among Turkish Islamists.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a signing ceremony with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk, Belarus, November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko - RTX2T8MF

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has revived his pet topic of joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in place of the European Union. His call comes at a time when Turkey’s ties with the West are at an all-time low because of Ankara’s refusal to meet Western standards of democracy, veering toward authoritarian rule instead.

Europe, in turn, is reluctant to clamp down on political supporters or alleged members of the so-called Fethullah Gulen Terror Organization, the group accused by Ankara of planning the failed coup on July 15. The same reluctance is seen with regard to political supporters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), despite the fact that the EU has also listed the PKK as a terrorist organization.

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