Minister for EU affairs and chief negotiator Egemen Bagis attended the "Turkish-Italian Media and Economic Forum" titled "A Strategic Junction: Turkey" held by the Turkish-Italian Friendship Association.
Speaking at the session titled: "Geopolitics" Bagis emphasized that Italy was obviously supporting the EU membership of Turkey and it had a prominent position among the Friends of Turkey Group. He also added that as of the end of 2008, Italy was the third country in our imports list and fifth in our exports.
Bagis draw attention to the difference between today's Europe and the Europe of 50 years ago and also to the difference between today's Turkey and Turkey of 50 years ago. He added: "Turkey is no more a country whose prime ministers are hanged as a result of coups, as it was 50 years ago; and Europe is not a remote and closed union as it was 50 years ago."
Bagis stated that the globalising Europe became a union of values looking for common solutions for the problems world was facing; and he added that Turkey's role was evidently witnessed by everybody when the global and financial economical crisis, climate change, increase in the need for sustainable energy resources were taken into consideration.
Bagis: ""Today, Turkey is a part of the solution of at least eight out of ten big problems of the EU. However, Turkey's membership process to EU and its accession will bring solution to at least eight out of ten big problems of Turkey. This relationship is established on win-win formula".
Bagis said that during the membership process to EU, Turkey would improve as did the 27 Member Countries of EU; it would become more democratic, more modern and would have a brighter future. Bagis also pointed that Turkey's potential was evidently seen in its dynamism, entrepreneurial spirit, trading capacity, its being a member of Customs Union and G-20.
Bagis said that Turkey proved to be an important actor in the energy field; and Nabucco Project would be realized with the contributions of Turkey and this showed that Turkey could be a part of the solution. Bagis added that they were processing rapidly to achieve the aim of rendering Turkey a centre for the energy field.
Bagis stressed that EU was at a strategic point for the dissemination of the modern and universal values which were also shared by Turkey. He added that Central Asia countries which were passing through democratisation process accepted Turkey as a source of inspiration and as regards Caucasia, Turkey attached importance to the Project of Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Pact.
Bagis mentioned Turkey's efforts -as a member of NATO- to establish peace in countries such as Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. He also reminded that Turkey held the co-chairmanship of the Alliance of Civilizations Project launched by the former UN General Secretary, Kofi Annan.
Bagis pointed to the fact that Turkey became a member of the UN Security Council with the 8 votes out of each 10 country. He added: "This renders us an important actor for the establishment of peace and increases our responsibility. We are aware of that."
Bagis said: "I believe that important projects will be realized with the cooperation of Turkey and 26 Member States of EU".
Bagis stressed the decisiveness of the government for the accession to EU and he listed the steps taken this process.
Bagis declared that a national programme, including the works to be done for the harmonisation with the EU, was being prepared and a new ministerial office has been delegated for the negotiations. He added that the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his decisiveness in this issue when he met with the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barosso in Brussels after 4 years.
Bagis said that the visit of the leader of the main opposition Party Deniz Baykal to Brussels and his statements supporting the membership of Turkey to EU is a promising fact. He also expressed his pleasure that the negative attitude of the opposition as witnessed in issues such as Article 301, amendments in Law on Vakfs and TRT law, would be eliminated.
Bagis stated that he had also met with the leaders of the other opponent parties Devlet Bahceli and Ahmet Turk, and the leaders of the Constitutional institutions and the Chief of Turkish General Staff. He emphasized that they had also stated that they would give support.
Stating that there was a common enthusiasm regarding the EU issue, Bagis recorded that they were hopeful about this common enthusiasm which was arising in every part of the society. He added that whenever a common enthusiasm arose in Anatolia about an issue, achievement was attained on it.
Reminding that President Abdullah Gül also had gone to Brussels in March, Bagis stated that the visits of the Prime Minister, the leader of the main opposing party and the President had proven that Turkey had stood by its full membership target.
Stressing that a new period without the elections in the next three years had started, Bagis said "We believe that it is time Turkey realized some reforms which it has to make with both the support of the ruling party and the opposing party."
The gala dinner of the forum was realized with the participation of Egemen Bagis, Minister for EU Affairs and the Chief Negotiator and Mehmet Simsek, the Minister of State.
Bagis stated that, for two years, the forum had helped the leading media representatives of Turkey and Italy to constitute a dialog among each other and also had contributed to the mutual understanding of the two countries. He recorded that, in the coming periods, as the AK Party, they were willing to work together with the opposing parties in order to form a Constitution that would suit to Turkey and realize the reforms that would be proper for Turkey.