Erdogan says Turkey not yet ‘closed the book’ on EU, but has alternatives

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan talks to the media before a meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussel

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey has not yet “closed the book” on the European Union after the European Parliament recommended freezing accession talks last week, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, but he said Ankara always has other alternatives.

Erdogan said last week that Turkey did not need to join the EU ‘at all costs’ and has floated the idea of becoming part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a security bloc dominated by China, Russia and Central Asian nations.

Without spelling out the alternatives, Erdogan said on Tuesday that talks with other potential other partners were underway, telling a conference in Istanbul: “We can continue our path with one of them.”

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Ece Toksabay; Editing by Nick Tattersall)