Egemen Bagis, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator, received the Turkish Study Group of U.S. Congress in the Dolmabahce office of the Prime Ministry and in his remarks following the meeting he pointed out that there were very strong relations between Turkey and the United States strengthened during the Clinton and Bush periods. Bagis said: " US President Obama made his first visit to Turkey among European countries. This is an important and positive step for Turkey."
Evaluating Turkey's EU membership process, Bagis said: "We are implementing the EU reforms primarily for Turkey. At the same time, Turkey is becoming closer to EU by these reforms.
Stating that, as the Turkish Government, they were determined on the EU issue and that they would not step back in that process, Bagis pointed out that Turkey's EU membership was to the benefit of both Turkey and Europe and the world.
Bagis stated that Turkey already met two criteria of the Maastricht Criteria and pointed out Turkey's economic situation was strong compared to many European countries, and emphasized the strength of the Turkish economy and stated that no bank went bankrupt during the recent crisis
Mentioning the efforts for the "Democratic initiative," Bagis stated that the democratic initiative did not target a specific religious or ethnic group, it should rather be interpreted as an effort to embrace all social groups in Turkey and to live together in harmony.
Considering the Cyprus process, Bagis said the EU had promised on April 26, 2004 to remove the embargo against the Northern Cyprus, but had failed to keep that promise, and stated that opening the ports did not seem possible at the current stage.
Minister of State Bagis said he hoped that the early general elections to be held in Greece in the forthcoming month would not negatively affect the negotiations that are in progress.
U.S. Congress Turkey Working Group consists of current and ex-congressmen and advisors.