Delivering a speech at the Crans Montana Forum in Brussels, Egemen Bagis, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator, indicated that in accordance with her status, Turkey was an intersection point which embraced different religions and cultures to live in peace for centuries and that those opposing Turkey's membership in the EU had unnecessary concerns.
Asked about why some circles in the EU oppose Turkish membership, Bagis said "I believe that the first reason has to do with economy. They hide behind different reasons but certain founding members of the EU don't want to have a dynamic and young nation of 70 million people in the EU. As we will have more seats in the Parliament, we will have more of a say about the EU budget or decision making processes.
The second point of concern is religion and culture. People are generally afraid of what they do not know. Unfortunately, Westerners don't know Easterners as much as they should. The East's most western part, Turkey, at the same time happens to be the most eastern part of the West."
Reminding that 20 million Muslims lived in the EU and about 6 million of these people were of Turkish origin, Bagis continued his speech as follows:
"If the Deputy President of the Greens, a party in Germany which showed the largest increase in votes in the latest European Parliament elections, is a Turk, the deputy chairman of the Dutch Socialists is a Turkish woman and if 2 of the EU Parliament members representing Bulgaria are of Turkish origin, then we are already in the EU. We are not returning. Turks have headed towards the West for more than a thousand years. We came from Middle Asia and came up to Vienna. We are changing our direction to Brussels. We are coming and we are strong."
Chief Negotiator Bagis stated that Turkey's relations with the EU and countries to the East weren't in contrast to each other but they were complementary of each other.
Egemen Bagis said "Turkey's membership process benefits both the EU and Turkey. Therefore, we are determined to continue. There are people who resist this in my country and in the EU. The people who resist to EU membership in Turkey want the country to be ruled by the gangs as in the past. European resisters don't want a young and dynamic country like Turkey to take the place it deserves in the EU."
Stating that Greek Cypriot administration which prevented the direct trade regulation to the TRNC wanted to "have the whole cake", Minister for EU Affairs asked "Why wouldn't the Dutch, British, Belgian eat them while you eat the best oranges from the north?"