Staunton, Nov. 14 – Kirill Semyonov, an expert at the Russian International Affairs Council, says that Russia should join the Organization of Turkic States because it has a large Turkic population within its borders. The precedent for such a step is Russia’s observer status in the Organization for Islamic Cooperation because it has a large Muslim population.
“As a country with an indigenous Muslim population,” he told Tatarstan’s Milliard.Tatar portal, “Russia is an observer of the OIC. The Organization of Turkic States is not an Islamic organization but in the first instance a Turkic one” (milliard.tatar/news/ekspert-predlozil-rossii-vstupit-v-organizaciyu-tyurkskix-gosudarstv-2389).
But he continues, because Russia has “a Turkic population,” it should take part in the latter organization as well. Doing so “would be completely logical” because “if Russia is concerned that this organization doesn’t correspond to its interests, then it should get involved and take action so that it will.”
As Semyonov points out, “Russia is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in which the majority of states are also members of the OTS.” Many of them ar also members of Russian-led groupings like the Eurasian Economic Union and the Organization for the Collective Security Treaty.
By joining the OTS, Russia would be in a better position to formulate “the architecture of Eurasian integration and security” and to ensure that these various organizations do not work at cross purposes but instead reinforce their efforts to build a new Eurasian security system, the Russian analyst concludes.
Whether Turkey would welcome such an application by Russia or see it as yet another way in which Moscow will try to block the expansion of Ankara’s influence in the former Soviet space, however, remains very much an open question.