Egemen Bagis, Minister for EU Affairs and the Chief Negotiator said: "As a consequence of this work (democratic expansion), we sincerely hope that, the terrorism will end and we hope that the polarization among the citizens in Turkey will be over and serenity, prosperity and the abundance in Turkey will increase."
Upon the questions of the journalists related to "works on democratic expansion" in Kayseri Erkilet Airport, Bagis stated these:
"There had been many significant developments in Turkey in the last 8 years in favour of democratization and an increase in progress. The income per capita in Turkey is no more 3 thousand 300 dollars like it was in 2002, currently it is over 10 thousand dollars. Turkey's foreign trade has almost increased by 400 percent.
Turkey is no longer only a candidate state of the EU; it is a country continuing its negotiations at the same time. It is also a country executing the office of secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. A country resuming its UN Security Council membership after 47 years with the votes of 151 out of 192 countries. A country co-presiding the Alliance of Civilizations.
It is high time that such countries defines its delicate problems and proceed to their solution. Under the leadership of our Prime Minister, our Minister of Internal Affairs has launched a very important mission to hear different problems of people from different parts of Turkey and to find ways to solve them collectively. This is a mission that everyone -and I mean everyone in Turkey- must support. Because at the end of this mission hopefully we will get rid of the scourge of terrorism, polarization among our people will come to an end and peace, prosperity and wealth of Turkey will grow."
Upon saying "I find it funny that some claim this process was initiated on the account of demands or pressure from the EU," Bagis explained:
"EU-Turkey relations started in 1959 with late Menderes' first application. Negotiations with Turkey began 45 years later when our Prime Minister took a firm stand in Brussels in December 2004, when a starting date for negotiations was acquired on December 17 and when our President started the negotiations as Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2005."
Indicating that none of these stages were easily accomplished and that Turkey has come a long way, Bagis stated:
"This democratization process we are initiating today, this mission to analyze our own people's precision and cultural, social and educational needs, is not very relevant to the EU process, but it is closely followed and appreciated by the EU. Just today ambassador of Germany, Europe's biggest and most populated country, said 'We attach great importance to this process. We consider it above EU standards. Because there are more than 3 million Turkish citizens in our country. Reconciliation in Turkey is important for Turks living in Germany too. This is significant for our internal peace as well.'"
"I would also like to tell you that western diplomatists or EU officials are not the only ones following or supporting this courageous expansion. Easterners closely follow it too. Because the region of Middle East has seen all kinds of war and conflict. We have witnessed cold war, hot war and guerrilla war, but different sides of diplomacy and peace haven't been sufficiently experienced. If Turkey can't provide for a dialogue among its people while serving as a mediator between Israel and Syria, while reconciling Afghanistan and Pakistan, while mediating between Russia and Georgia, it would be difficult to explain this situation to the world. In this respect, there are officials in the east who closely follow and greatly appreciate this expansion, this initiative and democratization process as closely as those in the west. Because, perhaps this will constitute a model for the solution of many problems in the Middle East."
"We are ready to receive opinions of everyone who says 'I have an idea for a solution.' A highly comprehensive workgroup coordinated by our Minister of Internal Affairs is ready to hear the opinions of people from all parts of Turkey, opposition parties, non-governmental organizations, members of the press and opinion leaders. If they present their opinions on paper, they shall be read. We hope that the opposition will contribute to our efforts to solve Turkey's problems in this turning point and undergoes the necessary change of opinions to be a part of the solution, not the problem."
"Of course, when I say everyone, I mean everyone who isn't outlawed. Our Prime Minister spoke very clearly on this. The venue for the solution of this problem is the TGNA General Assembly. We are open to suggestions and opinions of everyone who is engaged in politics within the framework of rights and freedoms defined in the Constitution of the Turkish Republic and all our citizens who pay taxes, do military service and work hard for Turkey's development."
Indicating that the first choice party of citizens living in that region is Justice and Development Party of which he is proud to be a member, Minister Egemen Bagis added:
"The statistics and results are obvious. No political party should introduce itself to be the representative of an ethnic group. We are not only talking about a political dialogue among a political party and the party in power for the solution of this problem. I would like to stress that we consider opinions of all political parties, all non-governmental organizations and everyone who can contribute to the solution but all ideas will be directed to our Minister of Internal Affairs who is given the task of coordinating the project by our Council of Ministers and Prime Minister."