15th Reform Monitoring Group (RMG) meeting chaired by Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis was held in Secretariat General for EU Affairs with the attendance of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Interior Minister Besir Atalay and Minister of Justice Sadullah Ergin. Opening the meeting, Bagis expressed that RMG meetings would be held every two months and more frequently when deemed necessary.
Stating that implementation of reforms indicated the determination of Turkey for EU membership, Bagis said reforms carried out in the country increased the living standards, level of tolerance and freedom and the coordination and cooperation between the nation and the state. He said he believed that the continuation of reforms would be beneficial.
Bagis stated that deficiencies, downfalls or blockings in reforms would have negative effects on the negotiation process between Turkey and the EU so they were in consensus on following this process closely.
Bagis continued his speech as follows:
"This process, perhaps above all, is important for our country to become a more democratic and prosperous one.
To hide the problems under the iceberg as it was done in the past has never been a solution, for the iceberg would melt at last and those problems would arise in a more complicated way. With this mentality, in the reforms we have determinedly carried out in the last 7 years, a high level of consciousness has been established in order to solve the problems Turkey would encounter from now on in a manner which guards Turkey's interest."
Bagis stated that the reforms carried out in the last 4.5-5 months indicated that the EU process didn't slow down; on the contrary it progressed with serious determination.
Bagis listed the reforms that took place in the recent months as follows:
"National Program has been published as 2009 begins, a state ministry that would focus on EU negotiations has been established, TRT-6 has started broadcasting, the citizenship of Nazım Hikmet has been restored, the Women-Men Equal Opportunities Commission has been founded in TGNA, the Kyoto Protocol has been approved, under the framework of Southeastern Anatolian Action Plan more than 500 million Euros fund has been allocated to the region, a meeting with more than 600 non-governmental organizations on the EU dialogue process has been held on March 6, state radios have started to broadcast in Kurdish and Armenian and May 1st has been declared as an official holiday."
Bagis stated that the President, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs visited Brussels as an indicator of Turkey's determination in the EU negotiations.
Bagis said that in the coming period the following legislation would come on the agenda: the legislation of judicial reform, strategy to fight against corruption, legislation on union rights, legislation on political parties law and the legislation about the financing of politics, the establishment of political ethics commission, the reconstructing of public auditing institution and Prime Ministry Human Rights Department which has been opened for signature in the Council of Ministers on Monday.
Bagis said "Here I would like to again emphasize Turkey's determination for the full EU membership issue. Turkey has a single aim, which is full EU membership" and he reminded that each authority emphasized that no alternative is accepted apart from full membership.
Stating that, in order to pursue the reform monitoring process in cities, they wished to hold these meetings also in different cities and that they desired to see Recep Tayyip Erdogan chair these meetings when he is available.