Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis stated that EU membership target functioned as "a uniting glue" in Turkey.
In the framework of his visit to Brussels, Minister Bagis made contacts with Günter Verheugen, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry; Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Energy; Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament (EP); Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Rapporteur of the European Parliament for Turkey, Joost Lagendijk, co-chairman of the delegation of the Joint EU-Turkey Parliamentary Committee; Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy and Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Transport.
In the speech he gave in the meeting titled "Talking Turkey - An EU Communication Strategy on Turkey and Turkey's Communication Strategy for the EU", which was co-organised by TEPAV and Italian Institute of International Relations, Bagis talked about the true meaning of EU membership process for Turkey.
Bagis said that "I can think of no other common project like EU, which everybody in Turkey today can find something in, whether easterner or westerner, men or women, military or civilian, Sunni or Alewi, Christian, Jew or Muslim".
Using the expression "like a uniting glue which also resolves some differences of opinion among us, helps us meet on a common ground, makes our hearts beat together" for the EU membership target, "which is the most important modernisation project after the proclamation of the Turkish Republic", Bagis stated that "in this process, I express on every occasion that I do not consider this an activity of a ruling party or a single party. I expect support from everybody, every part of the community".
Saying that "I want to announce for the first time here. We will declare 6th March Civil Society Day for European Union activities", Bagis continued his speech with the following words:
"On that day, we will invite all our non-governmental organizations to an activity, those which would like to participate, contribute to us in this process and share their opinions and criticisms, and I will be listening to them whole day to learn about what they think of the EU process, how they can contribute, what opinions they have. I am sure that new ideas, new projects will come out of the meeting that day as every time we gain something and some new ideas from anybody and any meeting we hold. This will both provide us with a to-do list in terms of communication in this process and an important result will be obtained as it will also give an indication as to how much the society can come together on this issue".
Pointing out that Turkey, which is one of the biggest 20 economies of the world and 6th biggest economy of Europe, "was among those rare countries which did not have to inject money into its own banking sector" in the global financial crisis, Bagis called attention to the fact that the two facilities of French automobile producer Renault, which made profits in 2008, were its factories in Turkey and Romania.
Stating that Turkey is traditionally said to be a bridge between West and East, Bagis reminded that Turkey was both an Asian and a European, a Mediterranean and a Black Sea, a Balkan, a Caucasian and a Middle East country and mentioning that in order for it to be a real bridge, the relations with both West and East have to be cared, he pointed out that Turkey got support from 8 out of every 10 voting countries when it was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council after a 47-year interval.