Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis said: "Turkey will not accept anything other than full membership to EU". In his statements for the Kathimerini newspaper published in Athens, Bagis mentioned Turkey's EU perspective, problems regarding illegal immigrants, Turkey-Greece relations, and Cyprus issue.
Bagis stated: "Despite the rejections of some concerning Turkey's membership, Turkey is determined to conclude the accession negotiations by taking the necessary steps in this regard". He added: "We do not accept anything other than full membership. We will either be a full member or not".
Bagis said: "There is not any other alternative; and the privileged partnership is not among the practices of the EU. We will firstly conclude the accession negotiations. Then perhaps we can decide not to become a member or they may not accept us as a member. However, this is not a decision to be taken now. When the accession negotiations come to an end Turkey will be a completely different country and also EU will be a completely different Union".
Bagis stated: "Government of Turkey has taken many important steps within the framework of the EU reforms. At the beginning of 2009, a 400-page programme was published and state television began to broadcast programmes in the Kurdish language. Nazim Hikmet's citizenship was restored. May, 1 became an official holiday. A special commission for the gender equality was established in the TGNA." Bagis added: "This is a great work for a party in distress of being closed just a year ago."
Bagis said: "Concerns of some in the EU, regarding Turkey are groundless. When the problems that Europe can face in the next 20-30 years; like terrorism, organised crime, old labour force, climate change, energy crisis are considered, it can be seen that these problems can only be solved with the accession of Turkey"
Upon the question of Katimeri regarding the illegal immigrants, Bagis said: "Illegal immigrants in the EU are not Turkish citizens. International society should cooperatively struggle against this problem."
Bagis said: "Turkey has problems in signing agreements with countries like Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq whose citizens are illegal immigrants in the EU. Because of these, implementation of the protocol signed with Greece in 2001 has not been realized." He added:
"When the home countries of these illegal immigrants accept their citizens back, we will sign an agreement with the EU. We refuse to be the world's biggest refugee camp. Two mistakes do not lead to a correct solution. We should struggle against this problem in cooperation with the international society; not by delivering speeches to media or by accusing our neighbours. I think that Greek politicians should be aware of the Turkey's dynamism. Do they want a neighbour which is a full member to EU or which has troubles and can disperse this to the region? "
Bagis also mentioned the Turkey-Greece relations and he said: "Politicians should look forward, not backward. What happened yesterday is a matter of historians."
Upon a question asking the opening of Heybeliada Seminary Bagis said: "This is a domestic issue of Turkey"
Bagis said: "Turkey should meet the religious needs of its Orthodox citizens but I believe that Greece should also find solutions for the problems of the Turkish minority in Western Thrace." He added:
"In this issue, reciprocity principle is not a must. However, we should concentrate to solve our domestic problems and we should do this simultaneously."
Regarding the Cyprus issue Bagis said: "On the condition that the leaders of the two societies in the island reach an agreement that both sides can agree on, Turkey will support this".
Upon a question asking the opening of Turkish ports to vessels under Greek Cypriot flag, Bagis emphasized: "Turkey's opening its ports to Greek vessels will not mean that Turkey will recognize the Greek Cypriots as the sovereign state in the island."