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Turkey Hopes for Top-Level Political, Economic Ties With Russia, Iran, China

© AP Photo / Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Press ServiceTurkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives in a conference of the heads of chambers of commerce in Ankara, Turkey, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives in a conference of the heads of chambers of commerce in Ankara, Turkey, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016 - Sputnik International
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Turkey hopes that political and economic relations with Russia, Iran and China will be at the highest level as its relations with both the East and the West are complementary to each other, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday.

ANKARA (Sputnik) — Erdogan said on November 20 that that the EU membership was not the only option for Turkey and that the country's leadership discussed possible accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kazakhstan’s leader Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) of Turkey attending the 23rd World Energy Congress in Istanbul, October 10, 2016 - Sputnik International
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"Are Turkey’s ties with the West strong and are they weak with the East? Quite on the contrary. We would like to conduct political and economic relations with Russia, Iran, China at the highest level. These relations [with the East and the West] are not an alternative to each other. On the contrary, we perceive these relations as complementary," Erdogan said at his address to rural administrative authorities in Ankara.

On November 24, the European Parliament approved an initiative to suspend EU membership talks with Turkey. The initiative was supported by 471 parliamentarians, with 37 votes against and 107 abstentions. However, the vote was non-binding and mostly symbolic, which meant it would not be supported by the European Commission.

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