Upon the invitation of Eastern Mediterranean University, Minister for EU Affairs and the Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis spoke at the conference on "Turkey in EU Membership Process" which was organized by Cyprus Policy Center.
Bagis stated that the compensation for Turkey's overcoming the existing obstacles in EU process would never mean the isolation of Turkish Cypriots.
Stating that after the local elections held in 27 March, there were 2,5 years period for Turkey without the elections, Bagis recorded that he hoped for the realization of democratic constitutional arrangements and the reforms.
Informing about Turkey's EU journey, Bagis emphasized that there was no country which initiated the negotiations and could not finalise them. He added that Turkey would not be an exception.
Emphasizing that they perceived Cyprus as a national case, a national policy, Bagis stated that they had shifted from the policy "deadlock is the solution" to the policy "to be one step ahead for the solution". Bagis said that they had proven the fact that they were longing for a solution for Cyprus without the withdrawal of even a soldier and without giving even a piece of land.
Bagis noted that the ones who claim that concessions had been made regarding the Cyprus issue, were the ones who did not want to see the acquisitions of Turkish Cypriots during the governmental period of AK Party. Bagis justified his statement with the words of Ibn-i Sina "No one is as as blind as the one who refuses to see."
Stressing that TRNC, which provided its own economic and social development, would be the assurance of both peace and solution, Egemen Bagis said "With also the contribution of the EU process, as Turkey developped and progressed, we have observed that, TRNC developped and progressed as well." At this point, we see that, both Turkey and TRNC grew into more wealthy, more prosperous, more democratic and more contemporary countries. For this reason, we consider the EU process together with the TRNC.
Stating that they attach importance to EU process for the peace and prosperity of TRNC and Turkey, Bagis continued his speech with the following:
"It is for sure that, the ones, whether in Turkey or in TRNC, who started out this journey just to pass the time, attracts our attention. We also witness the existence of the ones who pretend to be proceeding to the solution but merely dragging their feet. We observe the ones who insist on deadlock after they have realized that they will be left nonfunctional when a solution is found. TRNC does not have the luxury of being the party that poses an obstacle to the solution for the Cyprus issue. This is the option of the Greek part and this is a situation pertinent to them and should remain so. With regard to this issue, we should prevent the ones who obstructs TRNC on its way to finding out a solution. Together we should oppose those who attempt to realise domestically what Greek Cypriots couldn't achieve for 50 years. Nobody should worry, we won't step back from the rights we gained. The price of overcoming the current obstacles in the way of Turkey's EU membership process will in no way be to leave Turkish Cypriots by themselves."
Stating that they didn't consider TRNC and Turkey separate from one another in the EU process, Bagis noted that Turkey's progress towards EU was for the benefit of and not disadvantageous to Turkish Cypriots.
Indicating that with the EU project both TRNC's and Turkey's development and democratisation process would continue to progress in the same direction, Bagis said, "For this reason, it is very important that everyone acts responsibly and whoever comes to power (in TRNC) the new government bear this sensitivity. Otherwise, in an atmosphere where Turkey's EU process is brought to a halt and its speed of development and progress is reduced, TRNC and our Turkish Cypriot brothers will suffer damage like the ones in Turkey."
Noting that the place for solution to the Cyprus issue was not the EU, Bagis stressed that EU was an important actor but the place for solution was the United Nations (UN).
Bagis stated that they attached importance to the negotiations conducted by Mehmet Ali Talat, President of the TRNC and that they whole-heartedly wanted Talat to carry on with the negotiations and they would continue with their support for Talat as before.
Bagis requested that nobody should expect Turkey to take one-sided steps in Cyprus and said, "We never supported the idea of taking one-sided steps. We always supported and will support the idea that, Turkey being a step ahead, steps are taken simultaneously. If there are some sacrifices to be made and some expectations from one another, these must be reciprocal. Maintaining certain balances is a matter of great sensitivity for us."
Bagis wished all the candidates success in the elections to be held on Sunday in TRNC and indicating that elections were internal affair of TRNC and they didn't have any intention of taking sides in it, he said, "However, we care about Turkey's EU process and expect all the politicians in TRNC to attach importance to this issue."
Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis also met with Dervis Eroglu, the leader of the main opposition party, the National Unity Party (UBP), in the office of Prof Dr. Ufuk Taneri, the rector of the Eastern Mediterranean University.