Delivering a speech at the meeting on "EU-Turkey Relations" held by the Independent Industrialists & Businessmen Association (MUSIAD), Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis said the reforms were the secret behind the starting of Turkey-European Union negotiations and were the only remedy to accelerate Turkey's progress in the coming periods.
Reminding that the EU process wasn't new for Turkey and 50 years has passed since the beginning, Bagis stated that reforms and law amendments were carried out between 2002 and 2004 and said "we realized in two years what couldn't be done in 45 years."
Stating that the secret behind the starting of Turkey-European Union negotiations were the reforms; Bagis said "Reforms can be the only remedy in accelerating Turkey's progress in the coming period."
Bagis said "I do not pay attention to the number of the chapters which has been opened or closed. If we give in the success index to the chapters, we might give the control mechanism totally to Brussels. Nevertheless, if our success criteria or success index in the aforementioned process is our reforms, we keep the control mechanism in our hands. By this means, we make our reforms for our own according to our priorities and requirements."
Minister for EU Affairs Bagis stated that the reforms didn't slow down however there was a problem of perception and mentioned the reforms carried out in the last 5 months.
Reminding that TRT 6 was established and radios started broadcasting in Kurdish and Armenian, Bagis said "These broadcastings didn't weaken Turkey; they enabled our citizens to have access to real information, and news and quality entertainment programs in the language they understood. They started watching state channels in which they can obtain correct information rather than watching the channels inducing them to send their children to mountains."
Stating that the EU process wasn't an easy one and that the easy chapters were finished, Bagis said "I see the EU as Turkey's dietician. We all know that we have to avoid food which has fat and do sports; nonetheless we prefer sitting in front of television and eating ice cream to doing sports. However, whenever we experience some health problems, we visit a doctor or a dietician. And he writes a prescription for us."
Stating that to date 27 countries have become more powerful, democratic, prosperous and rich countries by the application of the Copenhagen and Maastricht criteria, and none of them has been separated, weakened or has experienced economical difficulties, Bagis said "Then it is obvious that this prescription is miraculous. We should take the prescription into consideration. We have to focus on this prescription in order not to get back to those old, dark and blurry days in Turkey."
Stating that they have been undergoing the EU process in order not to please the European but to raise the standards of Turkey, Minister Bagis said everything could change overnight when the political process with Europe would come to a level of maturity.
Responding to the participant's questions, Minister Bagis stated that there were political embargoes over 18 chapters out of 23 in the EU process and that they couldn't be opened.
Bagis said "We hope to open the environment chapter at the end of June" and replied a question as "We always stood without becoming obstinate. Should someone from Europe ever sound off about Turkey, Turkey gives the necessary answers. We represent not only ourselves but also you."
Stating that Turkey was decisively progressing to the brighter future, Bagis said there were many things to be done in the coming period and that they wanted to make the constitutional amendment together with the opponent.
Indicating that Turkey had a historical background and potential which could increase its prestige in relations with the neighbors and help Turkey to progress in the EU process, Bagis said "Move forward on every front as well."