Egemen Bagis, Minister for EU Affairs and the Chief Negotiator, stated "Time is on Turkey's side. The integration of Turkey to the EU is the necessity of the common sense and the common sense will win."
Upon the invitation of The Chair in Contemporary Turkish Studies, Bagis made a speech in London School of Economics (LSE), one of the most prestigious universities in UK. Reminding that Turkey's membership process to EU was not something new and adding that he was the first minister who had been appointed to exclusively work in this field on the 50th anniversary of that process, Bagis pointed out that the EU process stood as a measure for Turkey.
Emphasizing that various point of views such as privileged partnership for Turkey was put forth, Bagis said that a concept as such did not exist in the Acquis and he added that the ones who argued it, shouldn't forget the fact that there was no legal base for the privileged partnership.
Stressing that Turkey would not accept any formula other than full membership, Bagis said: "It is our belief that EU is based upon justice and freedoms. We can not accept a proposal such as privileged partnership for some reasons such as the population of Turkey. If they attempt to give more than we deserve, our manner would be the same again.
Reiterating that Turkey couldn't receive a date for negotiations in the first 45 years during the 50-year period of the EU process, Bagis reminded that some politicians and some non-politicians had made mistakes in the process, that some politicians distorted the process through the words 'the road to EU passes through Diyarbakir' and that some adopted such an approach as 'we would only be the market and they would become partners'. Bagis said, "However, when AK Party came to power in 2002 under the leadership of our Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, we succeeded in getting what couldn't be achieved or what wasn't desired to be achieved, we received the date for negotiations. And that was the milestone of the process."
Stating that many countries encountered difficulties in their membership process, but today they were EU members, Bagis said that both the EU and candidate countries had undergone a transformation during the process and the case would be the same for Turkey, too.
Bagis stated that, just like Turkey, EU would also change at the end of the process and that new challenges would occur for the EU and he added that Turkey would constitute the 80 percent of the sloutions to these problems. Bagis pointed out that the relationsip between Turkey and EU was a "win win" relationship.
Stating that Turkey needed the EU as much as EU needed Turkey, Bagis emphasized his belief regarding the realization of this at the end of the full membership process.
Putting forth that all of the six enlargement waves of the EU had been painful and that the time was on the side of Turkey, Bagis said that the integration of Turkey into the EU was the necessity of the common sense and he added that the common sense would win.
Stating that EU was the biggest peace project, Bagis said this project would be crowned by Turkey's membership to EU and he added that the Islamic World of 1.5 billion people were following the process closely.
Emphasizing that the cost of a failure of Turkey in the membership process, would be serious and dangerous, Bagis criticised some member states for trying to get benefit from the negotiation process of some candidate countries.
Bagis also criticised the member states for their utilizing their rights, which arose from membership, to veto the membership of the candidate countries. As an example, Bagis mentioned about the situation between Slovenia and Croatia and he also touched upon the Cyprus issue as another example.
Pointing out to the fact that Turkey undertook the task of being a very important peace and energy station, Bagis stated that EU stood as a measure for Turkey, in terms of democratization and stabilization.
Stating also that not any candidate country had to settle for less democracy after the membership, Bagis said "There could be the supporters and opponents of Turkey's membership. Anyway, we are well aware of the fact that what we have been doing is right and we will go ahead with it."
Emphasizing that Turkey was a part of Europe geographically, historically, politically and for many other aspects, Bagis said "We have no doubt that we will conclude the process successfully."