In his statement on the occasion of the eighth commemoration of the September 11 attacks, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis said that as citizens of a country which has been fighting against terrorism for more than twenty years, they are well aware that terrorism has no religion, culture, race, ideology or geography and it is a crime against humanity regardless of its roots, reasons or targets.
Bagis said: "We once again condemn terrorism and all crimes against humanity on the eighth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the tragic effects of which are still felt in the United States and the rest of the world." He also stressed that "Presenting different cultures and civilisations that share core values, such as peace, tolerance and justice, as the source of terrorism is wrong and very dangerous."
Bagis said the following:
"Today, we will remind the following teaching of our religion to those who try to encourage Islamophobia and associate the religion of Islam to such activities: '(S)He who kills one human being, kills the world entire and (s)he who saves one saves the whole of humanity.' In the same spirit, I believe that Turkey's accession to the EU will help to make this outcry against terrorism of 1.5 Billion Muslims be heard globally, and will create a unique opportunity for world peace by ending "us" and "them" perceptions."
Referring to statements by US Governments emphasizing this role of Turkey, Bagis pointed out it demonstrated the importance that is attributed to Turkey as a remedy to the clash of civilization mindset. Bagis continued as follows:
"If the EU which has more than 20 Million Muslims living in its Member States wants to be a global actor that promotes the alliance of civilizations, and want to act as a union of political values, Turkey must have a place in that Union. A peacefull, stable and prosperous Turkey will contribute greatly to peace, prosperity and stability in its region and in Europe. It should be remembered that those who committed those vicious attacks had been living in Western societies for years as tax-payers, as consumers and as citizens of EU Member States or the United States. Therefore, we should realize the dangers of emphasizing the differences of 'the other', and instead concentrate our efforts on how to win hearts and minds by emphasizing common interests and values."
Bagis pointed out that we should be aware that wars, conflicts and particularly acts of terrorism are not only destructive today, but they are attempts to rob us of our future, and said "painful experiences have taught us that is nobody is safe unless we are all safe."
Bagis indicated that Turkish society has been molded with a culture of tolerance and dialogue for thousands of years, and it will never allow divisive acts and knows how to unite against such attempts to undermine friendship, and said:
"Through our preparations of the democratic initiative called the National Unity Project, we are taking another step to strengthen our fraternity and to unite around our common values, and our shared ideals. Because of that, today, we are proud to communicate a message of peace to the whole world. As a country committed to the fight against terrorism, we are determined to end terrorism in Turkey and in the world in cooperation with our allies and in line with the principle of 'peace at home, peace in the world' expressed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk."
"The fact that we were among the first countries condemning the September 11 attacks is reflective of our commitment in the fight against terrorism," said Bagis and reminded that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had emphasized that commitment in his statement that day as the Chairman of the Justice and Development Party.
Bagis said "It is with these thoughts in mind that we, at this eight anniversary of these horrible attacks, commemorate more than two thousand innocent people, starting with our brother Zühtü İbiş, who lost their lives that day."