Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis, speaking at the press conference held at AK Party Bursa Chairmanship, stated that significant progress have been made in the last 7 years.
Indicating that per capita income had increased from 3.300 $ to more than 10.000 $, Bagis said that more than 9 thousand kilometres of road had been constructed in their period whereas 6 thousand kilometres of roads had been constructed in the whole history of the republic.
Stating that the ministry of national education had taken the biggest share from the budget for the first time in the history of the republic, Bagis said they attached great importance to education being aware that education is the salvation of the nation.
Bagis said they gathered the opinions from the political parties, nongovernmental organisations, thinkers and academics in the democratic initiative process, and continued as follows:
"We are making efforts to find out which democratic initiatives should be taken in order to end terrorism, increase prosperity, raise living standards and have a country where every person lives in peace, raises his/her children in peace atmosphere, where mothers do not cry anymore. We are acting by taking into consideration not only one but all elements constituting the Republic of Turkey. The problems do not involve only one ethnic or religious group. People from different segments of the society have both different and common problems in this country. We started efforts to solve them.
Bagis said the project they are working on was not a political but a national one, and continued:
"We do not want it to be a project of a political party, but a national project with the contributions from everyone. We said we were ready to get views from and collaborate with all parties which had received more than 1 percent of the votes. Unfortunately, some politicians said that they had no common path to walk together with us though we wished to stop bloodshed, forgive each other, work together and live in peace with higher standards. They are complaining about the status quo and saying that this situation should be changed, bloodshed should end. However, they are against the steps taken for that purpose and this is thought provoking.
Those who oppose democratic initiative process will be responsible before the history and the nation. I think it is time for the opposition leaders to reconsider their convictions. If Turkey is really to reach EU standards and freedom of speech, democratic rights, per capita income, economic standards, hygiene of food, amount of acid in water and carbon monoxide in the air that we breathe would be at targeted levels then we should take the steps all together."
Stating that everybody had been happy with the game won against Estonians and everybody felt sorry after an earthquake, Bagis said: "We have more in commont, the citizenship of the Republic of Turkey is a concept which unites us all. Let us come together around our common denominators, our common values."
Bagis indicated that the opposition leaders had personally told him that they would have supported the EU process, however they could not get sufficient support from them in practice and had difficulty to pass a law within the framework of harmonisation with EU standards.
Addressing Turkish citizens living in foreign countries, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis said: "There are more than 5 million Turkish citizens living in EU Member States. 3 million of them live in Germany. There will be elections in Germany next week and 1,2 million of our citizens are entitled t to vote. We want them to vote in elections using their constitutional right. Even their claim to use their constitutional right and voting in the elections would empower our community, provide them to be taken seriously and also increase the dignity of our country there.