A seminar on "Relations Between the Council of Europe and the European Union" was organized in Antalya on November 4th, 2006 by European Democrats Group of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Mr. Mevlüt Cavusoglu, Member of Turkish Parliament Representing Antalya, and Murat Mercan, Member of Turkish Parliament Representing Eskisehir were among the organizers of the event. Mr. Egemen Bagis, Member of the Parliament Representing Istanbul, who participated to the seminar as a speaker, delivered a speech on Turkey's relations with the international organizations.
Mr. Bagis affirmed that four years ago Turkey's relations with the organizations like United Nations, Security Council, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, European Union, Human Rights Tribunal, NATO, OIC, OSCE, Black Sea Economic Cooperation, European Council, World Bank, IMF, WHO were very weak however, thanks to the stable policies of Turkey followed during the last four years, Turkey became a strong and much more respected country on all of these platforms.
Speaking to the reporters after the seminar Mr. Bagis noted that organizing these meetings in Turkey added value to world peace. He affirmed that he was attaching much importance to these meetings and the views of European MPs about Turkey were positively changed after visiting Turkey.
Within this framework "I hope that Pope Benedict XVI's perspective on Turkey and Islam will change after he visits Turkey, on November 28th" said Bagis. "This is Pope Benedict XVI's first visit to a country with an overwhelmingly Muslim population after he became the pontiff. It is obvious from his interviews that he does not know much about Islam and Muslims. I think that this visit will help him learn more about Islam as he personally witnesses the ongoing tolerance in Turkey. Turkey is a cradle where civilizations have intermingled for centuries. Turkey is a very different country because we are one of the unique countries where a mosque, synagogue and church in the same street can together give peace to people. I hope that Ali Bardakoglu, head of Religious Affairs Directorate-General, will give necessary messages to him. I call on the Pope to give the signals that he has changed when he visits Turkey" he added.