Putin's Key Meetings at SCO Summit: Xi Jinping and NATO's Sole Representative Erdogan

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Astana to participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit, where he will engage in key diplomatic meetings with various world leaders.

by Sededin Dedovic
Putin's Key Meetings at SCO Summit: Xi Jinping and NATO's Sole Representative Erdogan
© ANI News / Youtube channel

The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has arrived in the Kazakh capital, Astana, where he will participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting and hold numerous bilateral meetings, the Russian Kremlin announced.

"The Russian President has arrived in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, to participate in the SCO Council of Heads of State," the Kremlin stated on its website. The SCO summit will be held in Astana today and tomorrow under the slogan "Strengthening Multilateral Dialogue - Pursuing Sustainable Peace and Development." Participants are expected to sign 24 documents and adopt a final declaration and statement affirming the SCO members' commitment to the principles of good-neighborly relations and unity.

Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov announced yesterday that Putin will meet in Astana with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

President Putin Visits China For Regional Summit in Bejing© Pool / Getty Images

Additionally, Putin will hold a separate meeting with the Acting President of Iran, Mohammad Mokhber. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a forum established in 2001 by China and Russia as a security guardian in the Eurasian region, will hold its summit on July 3 and 4 in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

"Leaders of SCO member countries will discuss the current state and prospects for further deepening multilateral cooperation within the organization and improving its activities," the Kremlin announced on its website. The meeting will likely be dominated by Russia and China, and leaders or representatives from Azerbaijan, Belarus, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, China, Mongolia, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan are expected to attend.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is also expected to attend, Russian agencies reported on Tuesday. Russia stated on Tuesday that Putin will hold a series of bilateral talks, including with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Russian President is "likely to meet" with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said. The two leaders last met in September 2023 in Sochi, Russia. Fidan visited Russia in early June, participating in a BRICS members' meeting and was received by Putin, as well as his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Putin And Erdogan Meet For TurkStream Gas Pipeline Opening Ceremony© Burak Kara / Getty Images

Ankara, which has sought to maintain good relations with both Kyiv and Moscow since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, has repeatedly offered its good offices to achieve a negotiated resolution to the conflict between the two countries.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is expected in Moscow this month, will not attend, and the country will be represented by Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the ministry announced on Tuesday. At last year's virtual summit, the group issued a statement criticizing the negative impact of "unilateral and unrestricted expansion of global missile defense systems by certain countries or groups of countries," without directly mentioning NATO expansion or Western military aid to Ukraine.

What is the impact of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization?

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an alliance comprising Russia, China, Iran, and several Central Asian states, was initially created to preserve peace and promote trade cooperation in Eurasia.

Western powers view this organization with suspicion because it brings together so many of their adversaries. But how important is it on the global stage? The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was founded in 2001 by China, Russia, and four Central Asian states that were once part of the Soviet Union—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

It originated from a border agreement signed in 1996 by Russia, China, and Central Asian countries, called the Shanghai Five. At China's suggestion, this expanded into an organization to promote good-neighborly relations among regional countries and to foster cooperation in areas such as trade, peace, and security.

"There was concern about the consequences of the Soviet Union's collapse and the potential for chaos," says Nigel Gould-Davies of the British International Institute for Strategic Studies. "It was a post-Soviet move to ensure the preservation of regional order." India and Pakistan joined the group in 2017, and Iran became a member in 2023.

Together, SCO countries account for 40% of the world's population. They generate 20% of the world's GDP and hold about 20% of the world's oil reserves.

What does the SCO do?

One of the main reasons for the SCO's establishment was to combat the so-called "three evils"—terrorism, separatism, and extremism.

"This is mainly related to China's concern about the separatist initiative in its northwestern region of Xinjiang," says Annette Bohr from Chatham House, a British foreign affairs think tank. The region is predominantly inhabited by Uighurs, a Muslim and ethnically Turkic people.

China cooperates with Central Asian states to suppress cross-border incursions of extremists from the separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) into Xinjiang. However, says Natasha Kuhrt from the War Studies Department at King's College London, "most counter-terrorism actions are conducted bilaterally between states." China views the SCO as a useful tool for expanding trade ties in Central Asia, Dr. Kuhrt says for BBC.

Xi Jinping Nato Vladimir Putin