Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

The aim of the organization is to strengthen good-neighbourly, friendly relations and mutual trust among Member States; to exert common efforts for the protection of regional peace, security and stability; to fight against terrorism, radicalism, separatism, organized crime and illegal migration; to reinforce cooperation in political, economic, scientific, technologic and energy, as well as environmental issues.

The Date of Establishment:

15th July 2001

The Center:


Secretary General:

Amb. Zhang Ming (PRC- Assumed duties as of 1 January 2022)

Member States:

People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan, Iran*

Observer States:

Afghanistan, Mongolia, Belarus

Dialogue Partners:

Türkiye, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Nepal, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Saudi Arabia**, Egypt** and Qatar**

The Historical Background of the Organization

Shanghai Cooperation Organization was founded in 1996 by the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan in order to build mutual trust among Member States, to disarm the border regions and to encourage regional cooperation under the name “Shanghai Five”.

In 1996 and 1997, the Heads of States of aforementioned five countries came together and signed, respectively in Shanghai and Moscow, the “Treaty on Deepening Military Trust in Border Regions” and the “Treaty on Reduction of Military Forces in Border Regions”. In summit meetings between 1998 and 2000 which were held respectively in Almaty, Bishkek and Dushanbe, Member States consulted on ways to increase security in border region, as well as, on political, economic and security issues.

In Heads of State Meeting which was held in Shanghai on 14-15 June 2001, in light of recent developments both in international arena and Member States, it was decided to transform the Shanghai Five into a regional organization in order to carry out a more effective cooperation for combating threats of terrorism, separatism and radicalism. In this context, a Joint Declaration admitting Uzbekistan as member of the Shanghai Five mechanism was adopted and the Declaration on the Establishment of Shanghai Cooperation Organization was signed by six Member Countries. In addition, “Shanghai Convention on Combatting Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism” was signed in the meeting.

In the first Prime Minister’s meeting of SCO which was held in Almaty on 14 September 2001, a Memorandum of Understanding on Creating Better Conditions for Regional Economic Cooperation and Trade, as well as Investments was signed. Moreover, it was declared that the meetings on the level of Prime Ministers of the Member States have become a regular mechanism. Today, along with other meeting mechanisms, SCO heads of State Summit and SCO Prime Minister’s Council Meetings held once a year constitute the highest level of these mechanisms. Compared with the Heads of State Summit, it is obvious that Prime Minister’s meeting especially addresses development issues and economic cooperation and presents a preparation for the Summit.

With SCO Charter which was signed in St. Petersburg at the SCO Heads of State Summit, on 7 June 2002, its targets, principles, structure, activities, cooperation areas and foreign relations were set.

One of the most important agenda items of the 17th SCO Summit of Heads of State was held on 8-9 June 2017 in Astana, was the enlargement of the Organization. In this framework, the accession of India and Pakistan to the SCO as full members was approved by the Council of Heads of States. At the Dushanbe Summit of 17 September 2021, Iran has been announced as the nineth member state of the SCO and Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar became Dialogue Partners.

With Dushanbe Summit of 2021, Uzbekistan became the SCO Chair.

Türkiye’s Status

In Dushanbe Summit of 2008, a new mechanism under the title of “the Status of Dialogue Partner of SCO” were adopted with a view to institutionalizing the relations with third countries and international organizations wishing to have contact with the Organization and not having at observer status.

The status of Dialogue Partnership provides the third countries not having observer status with limited cooperation with the Organization in certain fields. This status is beyond “quest participants” and below “observer status” in terms of the degree of institutional ties with the Organization.

On 23 March 2011, Türkiye applied for receiving the Status of Dialogue Partnership in the Organization. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) approved Türkiye’s application to become a Dialogue Partner at the Summit of the Heads of State of the SCO held in Beijing, China on 6-7 June 2012. Memorandum setting out cooperation modalities between Türkiye as Dialogue Partner and the SCO was signed on 26 April 2013 in Almaty. Ratification process of the aforementioned document has been concluded by the adoption of the Cabinet of Ministers Decision dated 1 May 2017 in the Official Journal on 24.05.2017. Dialogue Partnership envisages the improvement of cooperation between Türkiye and SCO in various subjects mainly in regional security, fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and preventing organized crime as well as economic and cultural fields.

* Membership is approved and the official launch of the procedures for Iran's accession to SCO has started.

** At Dushanbe Summit of 2021, Dialogue Partner Status is granted to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar.