Turkey has many options to replace European Union (EU): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

November 29, 2016 6:10 pm

Turkish President addresses a meeting in Istanbul, , November 25, 2016. (Photo by AP)

The Turkish president says his country is still hopeful about joining the () despite a recent freeze on its accession talks, stressing, however, that Ankara has many other options at its disposal other than joining the bloc.
“We have not yet closed the European Union book right now,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told an international conference in Istanbul on Tuesday, adding, “But nobody should forget that Turkey always has many other alternatives.”
If the EU path is blocked, “we’ll continue our road by evaluating one of those alternatives,” Erdogan emphasized.
“I don’t find it right to say it here but we are of course continuing our talks with those alternatives,” the Turkish leader further pointed out.
The remarks came less than one week after Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) approved a motion urging the European Commission and member states’ governments to halt Turkey’s EU membership negotiations in response to Ankara’s “disproportionate repressive measures” after an abortive military coup in July.

People run as Turkish police uses water cannon to disperse demonstrators during a protest in Istanbul on November 5, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Erdogan reacted angrily to the non-binding vote, threatening to open his country’s gates for refugees to stream into .
The accession talks were part of a deal struck between Turkey and the EU in March to limit the flow of refugees to Europe.
Under the agreement, Turkey vowed to back rejected asylum seekers and patrol borders. In return, the EU pledged financial aid, visa-free travel for Turkish nationals and progress in Turkey’s long-stalled EU membership talks. 
Earlier this month, Erdogan also suggested that instead of the EU, Turkey may join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an economic bloc which includes Russia and China.
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