Egemen Bagis, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator, attended the closing meeting of the "Technical Assistance for Strengthening the Capacity of the Translation Coordination Unit in Turkey" Project held in Bilkent Hotel.
Oguz Demiralp, EU Secretary General Ambassador, and Tibor Varadi, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey also participated in the meeting. In that meeting Bagis reminded that in the framework of Turkey's EU accession process, the EU legislation should be translated to Turkish and the Turkish legislation into English and he emphasized Turkey's determination for EU membership. Bagis continued his speech as follows:
"There is no country that started negotiations and wasn't able to finish them. It took long for Turkey to start negotiations. Unfortunately the negotiation date had not been announced due to some mistakes done in both Europe and Turkey in the first 45 years. Today, however, since the announcement of the negotiation date in 2004, the negotiations are continuing with determination. There is no single country that started negotiations and was not able to finish them; Turkey will not be an exception."
Stating that Turkish will be one of the EU languages as the negotiations will be finalized, Bagis said that there was a great potential for translation field and need for lawyer-linguists and translators in various languages.
Indicating that serious judicial problems may arise from the mistranslation of the legislations, Bagis said that a new draft law was being worked on in order to strengthen the Translation Coordination Unit in the Secretariat General for EU Affairs (EUSG). Stating that they attach great importance to this issue, Bagis said they were planning to establish a separate unit for translation and legal issues and to reinforce this unit by lawyers.
Bagis mentioned that, considering the population projection, Turkish would be one of the most used languages in EU when Turkey would be a full member and for this reason, this issue should be given importance.
Bagis said the following about the European identity of Turkey:
"We have already taken our place among the EU institutions thanks to Customs Union and our gradually increasing active existence in international organizations. Nobody should attempt to question Turkey's European identity. For, Turkey was European even in her worst day. We were called as "the sick man of Europe" when our empire was facing the danger of being destroyed. Nobody called us as "the sick man of Asia". We were European in our worst days and today we are experiencing our most prosperous, democratic and modern days and are decisively progressing towards more modern times. Today we are more European than ever. But at the same time we are Asian. We are a country of Balkans, Black Sea, Mediterranean, Middle East and Caucasian. We are a Eurasian country. We are a country where different cultures can come together and live together and can enrich each other's cultures in a tolerant way. This fact, distinguishing us from other cultures, will bring us to a different level among the EU states."
Bagis thanked to the people contributing to the preparation of the Glossary of the European Union Terms and said that translators, interpreters and linguists would be very important in the EU process.
EU Secretary General Ambassador Oguz Demiralp, attending the meeting, said that the glossary was created due to a serious work and that it would have important contributions to the negotiation process.
Indicating the importance of translation in the accession process Tibor Varadi, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey, stated that mistranslation could cause serious judicial problems.