Former European Affairs and State Minister Egemen Bağış who was invited to the Mediterranean Summit of the World Tourism Forum in Antalya said, in his address:
"Antalya is a unique and one of the rare places, as Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavuşoğlu emphasized years ago, where an Iranian and an Israeli tourist can swim in the same pool. In this country, where the mosques, the monarchs and the churches coexist for centuries, we become richer and our schools, hospitals and airports have increased three times as Turkey’s foreign trade has increased with a different approach adopted in foreign policy after 2002.
We’ve pursued a foreign policy foreseeing the fact that Turkey has always been a bridge between civilizations, between cultures, between cuisines, between religions, between concepts, between supply and demand, between energy sources and users, between raw material and finished product. We were a bridge even during the silk road era, but a bridge must be built on four main pillars to be solid, and this geography has taught us the fact that we need to get along well with all our neighbors. Turkey is both European and Asian, both the Mediterranean and the Middle Eastern, both the Balkans and the Caspian; we do not have the luxury of giving up on any of those identities, but foreign actors also have an influence on foreign policy. May 2013 was perhaps the most successful month of the Republican history. It was a time when we had the peak of our per capita income, interest rates were the lowest, the unemployment rate fell to half of the European Union average, the bid for the third bridge and third airport was made, the Japanese and French consortium was ready to invest 20 billion euros in order to produce nuclear energy in Turkey, the President of the Council of Europe was paying a visit to our country and our Prime Minister was welcomed in Washington and in the Blair House. However, we faced with the Gezi events. This was happened because Turkey was no more an ally in the bag as it was in the past and since Turkey did care about regional sensitivities, national interests, and demands of the society instead of fulfilling the orders given to it. Now we see that Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) was behind all this and some succeeding initiatives like the following events in Kobani on December 17-25, the terrorist acts in Urfa, Ankara, Istanbul, Bursa and Gaziantep, downing of a Russian warplane, the cancellation of the nuclear missile treaty with China while Chinese President heading his hotel during the G-20 summit. Turkey's economy and therefore tourism has also received a lot of damage, but July 15th topped it all. Our country really took a heavy blow that day. However, I believe that we will be able to defeat all the difficulties and pursue a balanced policy in foreign affairs and tourism like we overcome the 15th of July by the unity and cohesion of our nation.
The policy of increasing our friends and decreasing our enemies as declared by our President and supported by our Prime Minister is the most realistic policy for Turkey. Turkey is the most western country in the east, the most eastern country in the west. As it has been for centuries, Turkey will continue to give peace to the region. I think that 2017 will be a much better year for the tourism sector. I strongly believe that Turkey will be one of the most important actors of the next 20 years, as respected analysts have said, as President Trump’s party provides the majority in the house of representatives and in the senate in the global sense, and as Turkey will lead up after the referendum at the local and come out on top starting from 2018. International analysts stress that Turkey, Japan and Poland will be the shining stars of their regions within 30 years from 2020. Likewise, I invite them to invest more in this faith and to prepare for Turkey's bright future."