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.
"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.