Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis came together with the senior managers of news agencies, televisions and newspapers at a meeting held in a hotel in Istanbul.
In his speech Bagis said that he attached importance to making evaluations with the press representatives and getting their opinion. Indicating the importance of clear dialogue in Turkey's EU process, Bagis said that the EU wasn't the sole project of a certain party or government but it was the project of everyone's common future together with the government and the opponent, the young and the old, the people from Istanbul and from Diyarbakır, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray fans. Bagis said that the EU project could be a unifier for Turkey.
Stating that Turkey, making a very fast and assertive entry to 2009, has achieved important success in the EU membership process, Bagis reminded that the national program on the EU was promulgated in the Official Journal on the 1st of January and gave information about the works carried out up till now.
Informing that the Reform Monitoring Group would be gathered in Antakya for the first time, Bagis continued his speech as follows:
"Within the period, I attach importance to the reforms we have carried out rather than the number of the chapters opened and closed. The works done in 6 months is more important than the opening and closing of chapters. If we give in the success index to the chapters, we might give the control mechanism totally to Brussels. It would be better if we focus the success criteria on the reforms realized and if we realize the reforms to raise the living standards of our citizens. We can carry out this process in coordination."
Stating that he didn't believe the saying "the way to Europe goes through certain cities", Bagis said "We have seen in the last 6 months that the way to the EU goes through the General Board of TGNA."
Bagis said that the EU process would accelerate if the government and the opponent worked cooperatively, enacted and implemented certain laws. He said that the EU process required a determined activity in which the government and the opponent worked cooperatively.
Egemen Bagis said that the time was working in favor of Turkey and that encountered with problems such as human trafficking, energy crisis, economic crisis, drug smuggling and fight against terrorism, it was too difficult for Europe to cope with those problems without Turkey.
Answering the questions in the meeting, Bagis said he didn't believe that Turkey had any deficiencies on the Cyprus Issue. He said the trade between the EU countries and Cyprus wouldn't mean they would recognize TRNC and the opening of Turkish ports to Greek Cypriot traffic wouldn't mean Turkey would recognize the Greek Cypriot Administration. Bagis said "Let direct trade begin with the TRNC, let us see their good will, we will open our ports too."
Stating that the EU process wouldn't be easy for Turkey and that patience was necessary, Bagis expressed that a just and lasting solution to the Cyprus Issue would be in time.
Answering a question on the re-opening of Heybeliada Seminary, Bagis said he opposed to showing of Heybeliada Seminary as an alternative to Cyprus Issue and said:
"Heybeliada Seminary should be considered as a domestic affair to meet the needs of the citizens who share the same territory for centuries. Similarly, Greece should take a simultaneous step for the solution of the problems of Turks who are citizens of Greece and who live in Western Thrace. This is a simultaneous goodwill step of a country towards solution of the problems of its own citizens."
Minister for EU Affairs Bagis stated that judicial reform strategy would be presented in the coming period and that Turkey needed a transparent constitution.
Stating that they proposed to set the "Turkey Deputyship" which would allow the parties to be represented in the parliament even if they receive one percentage of the votes, Bagis said they attached importance to have the support of the opponent parties in all legal regulations however that they couldn't receive a positive response to their calls. Bagis stated that they would like to start the constitutional amendments by taking the suggestions of the opponent.
Stating that the coming chapters weren't easy in the EU process and that they were open to dialogue Bagis said "There is a saying; 'Two people are needed for tango'. Dialogue is very important."
Indicating that Turkey had so much to do, Bagis pointed out the importance of the media's support in the EU process.