Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis represented Turkey at the 7th meeting of the Turkey-EU Accession Conference at ministerial level which was held in Brussels for the opening of taxation chapter.
Upon the opening of taxation chapter, the opening criteria of which has been met under the framework of Turkey's EU accession process, Bagis said the total number of chapters opening to negotiation rose to eleven.
Bagis said "Turkey is determined to play the game by its rules. But when new rules are introduced to the game while the game is going on, this creates reaction." Stating that Turkey was determined to fulfill the opening and closing criteria of the chapters left, Bagis said Turkey expected the EU not to hinder the chapters that are ready to be opened technically and to finalize the scanning reports of nine chapters as soon as possible.
Bagis stated that Turkey would carry out reforms in accordance with the National Program that had been released at the beginning of this year, and emphasized that Turkey's EU adhesion process could only achieve its goals 'if both parties stick to their liabilities'.
Thanking the EU's term president Czech Republic and the European Commission for the efforts they displayed for the opening of the chapters on taxation, Bagis said they would like to open as many chapters as they can during Sweden's upcoming rotating presidency.
Bagis said the chapters on education and culture, economic and monetary policy, energy, public procurement, social policy and employment, and environment are being prepared for opening.
Egemen Bagis criticized the Greek Cypriot veto against the opening of energy chapter and said "Unfortunately one small member state enjoying beautiful Mediterranean sun, which is not affected by Europe's energy crisis, can jeopardize the energy needs of 490 million Europeans".
Upon a question on the reopening of Heybeliada Seminary, Bagis said that such issue was assessed within the context of "meeting the needs of the Greek Orthodox community who are equal citizens" and they looked for a solution that is appropriate to the constitutional and legal framework.
Stating that they expected certain requirements of the Turkish minorities in Greece to be met, Bagis said they wanted this issue to be solved under the framework of "simultaneous goodwill."
Turkey's progress in the EU accession process and the works envisaged to be done were also discussed at the meeting.
Michael Leigh, European Commission's Director General for Enlargement, emphasized the importance of Turkey's adapting European standards and Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout said his country was quite happy with the opening of the chapter on taxation on the last day of its term presidency.
Minister for EU Affairs Bagis met the Commissioner for Multilingualism in the European Commission Leonard Orban after the meeting.