Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis attended AK Party Political Academy meeting in Samsun and he talked about Turkey's EU process.
Stating that thus far as the ruling party they worked to make Turkey more respected and more successful on every issue such as economy, internal politics, fight against gangs, fight against terrorism, human rights and freedom of speech, Bagis said, "I think that the most important achievement of ours is investment we made in democracy in the last 7 years. One of the most important elements and factors behind this process is Turkey's EU process."
Noting that the EU was a common enthusiasm in Turkey, Bagis continued his speech as follows:
"EU is of concern not only to me. EU is also of concern not only to our party. EU is a project which is about our common future and it is a common enthusiasm for us all in Turkey; government and opposition, military and civilian, men and women, military and civilian. EU is also a very important platform for eliminating our common and various preconceptions, doubts and worries about ourselves."
Indicating that EU process was the most important modernisation project after the proclamation of the Turkish Republic, Bagis pointed out that EU wasn't a process which concentrated on a certain issue and that there were various issues such as justice, democracy, taxation, environment and science in the chapters which would be opened.
Bağış noted that Turkey's relationship with the EU had started during the period of Adnan Menderes with the application to the European Economic Community in 1959 and said that today, after 50 years, he was appointed as Minister for EU Affairs with a mandate to concentrate on the EU negotiations.
Bagis said, "This is encouraging for me but a little bit thought-provoking for our country" and he stressed that there was no other example of so long a process which lasted 50 years in the history of no other member or candidate state.
Touching upon the Cyprus issue, Bagis stated that during the EU negotiations process they held their head high regarding the Cyprus issue and they didn't make any concessions on this issue.
Stressing that the expression "AK Party abandoned Cyprus" was wrong, Bagis said, "AK Party altered all the balances in Cyprus without withdrawing one single soldier and giving a piece of land and our hard-line position on the Cyprus issue is the most hard-line position taken in the history of Turkish Republic."
Pointing out that 2007-2008 were said to be the slowdown years in EU affairs, however, many important improvements were achieved during this period despite the elections and closure case, Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis noted that they passed important and sensitive laws such as amendment to the 301st article, TRT Law and the Foundations Law, to which the opposition parties showed resistance in the Assembly.
Bagis said that they made a quick start on dealing with the things on their agenda in 2009 and he talked about the work which was conducted such as the ratification of the National Programme which specified individual steps which would be taken during the next 4 years by the President of the Republic of Turkey, restoration of the citizenship of Nazim Hikmet, start of TRT 6 and signing of the Kyoto Protocol during this process.
Bağış emphasized that the most important thing to be done in the coming process was the Constitutional amendment and he said:
"We have to give an end to this process and we have to provide for Turkey to attain a constitution in its own region that would be a source of inspiration. We would like to create this Constitution together with the ruling and the opposition party. The road to EU goes through Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA). From here, I would like to make a call to the opposition parties. This is our process, this country is ours. Let's come together and pave the for Turkey's progress. If we really want to get rid of our common anxieties and our drifting aparts, then we should create a constitution which we will call as ours and which will provide us comfort.
Pointing out the importance of fight against corruption in the course of EU process and giving information concerning the works carried out regarding that issue, Bagis, Minister for EU Affairs and the Chief Negotiator, highlighted the need for a national strategy about the fight against corruption in Turkey.
Pointing out that Europe, both in domestic policy and in foreign policy, encountered many serious problems such as terror, racism, drugs, energy and the ageing population, Bagis stated that these problems and the problems Europe would encounter in the coming 30 years would be resolved through the integration of Turkey into the European Union.
Bagis emphasized that, with its strong economy and younger population, Turkey would make important contributions to Europe. Pointing out that the most important gain of Turkey had been "democracy" in the course of EU process, Bagis said: "In the long term, the EU's need for Turkey is much more than Turkey's need for the EU."
Stating, in the event that Turkey managed that process successfully, an absolute achievement would be attained in the end, Bagis noted that the important thing in that process was the build-up of democracy.Resource: AA