Minister for EU affairs and chief negotiator Egemen Bagis received Jesper Vahr, Denmark's ambassador to Ankara. Speaking at the reception in Secretariat General for EU Affairs Bagis stated that the Danish Ambassador Vahr had always been a person exerting great efforts to improve the relations between Denmark and Turkey, even in hard times.
Bagis declared his knowledge that Vahr would be the new NATO Chef De Cabinet of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the new NATO secretary general and the former prime minister of Denmark; and congratulated Vahr on his appointment. Bagis added:
"I hope that Vahr, as a person familiar with Turkey's concerns as well as sensitivities of the Turkish Nation, will be mindful about these in his new position and guide high level NATO officials including NATO SG in this direction."
Upon a question Bagis stressed that Turkey was a candidate to EU but a member to NATO. He stated that Turkey was a member of NATO for 50 years, had important responsibilities in many countries and accomplished all the given the tasks successfully. Bagis added that Turkey might take over the command in Kabul, Afghanistan again in the near future.
Bagis noted: "Turkey's responsibility and powers in NATO should not be compared and confused with its position in EU bodies" and he also emphasized that Turkey had the second largest military force in NATO. Bagis added:
"Turkey will of course take every opportunity to express its opinion, be the most important actor of each debate, and contribute to the debates but will also support the decisions in NATO, taken also with the assent of Turkey. NATO is important for Turkey in the same way as Turkey is important for NATO, and it should be so."
Recalling the declaration of Turkey's sensitiveness in various occasions in NATO, Bagis said that these sensitive issues were clearly stressed and a common view was attained in the meetings such as the meeting between the President Abdullah Gul and Rasmussen, or the meetings under the framework of Alliance of Civilizations, and also by the stance of USA president Barack Obama in the NATO Summit.
Stating that Rasmussen is not the secretary general of NATO now but will assume the position in August Bagis said: "I have no doubt that after being a secretary general Rasmussen will take Turkey's mentioned sensitive issues into consideration."
Jesper Vahr, Denmark's ambassador to Ankara restated that Denmark welcomed the Turkey's having a "full time" negotiator and appointment of Bagis to this position. He added that his country would give full support to Turkey's membership to EU when Turkey fulfilled the conditions.