Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis said: "Everyone in Turkey who wants peace and welfare, who wants to prevent bloodshed can contribute to this process with their ideas and can shape this expansion (democratic expansion)."
Visiting Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbaş in Sarachane City Hall, Bagis was asked by the journalists: "Is the Kurdish reform a demand of the EU or is it the government's own project?" He replied that the Turkish Republic had never been a country to take steps just because the EU or any other external power demanded it.
Reminding that Turkey had never been directed in such a way under Justice and Development Party government or before, Bagis declared that the Turkish Republic had been working to reach the aim set by its founder Ataturk to raise Turkey above the level of prosperous states while protecting its citizens' interests.
Bagis stated "We are working towards this aim hand in hand with the government, the opposition, men, women, the Eastern, the Western, Kurdish, Turkish, Circassian, Laz and Bosniak people."
Underlining the fact that Turkey is the world's 17th and Europe's 6th biggest economy, Bagis added:
"As a country shaping the world economy today, we are exerting efforts to solve certain delicate internal problems not to realize the wishes of any other country or a union wishes it but to ensure our citizens enjoy the right of a happier life, to increase the welfare and living standards of our country, to prevent bloodshed, to stop the tears of our mothers. As clearly expressed by our Prime Minister, we are taking the necessary steps for our internal peace. This has nothing to do with the EU."
Egemen Bagis indicated that a country taking such steps was appreciated by the EU as well and that the officials and ambassadors of the EU countries who met him congratulated the government's courage on this issue on various occasions.
Stressing that not only ambassadors and guests from the EU countries but also those representing the Islamic world also expressed their precision and reactions on this issue, Bagis stated the following:
"Turkey is a very important country in its region. Turkey is the most western country of the east and the most eastern country of the west. A spread of Turkey's internal peace will be welcomed both in the east and the west. In this respect, I hope that everyone -and I mean everyone in Turkey- does their part and we can walk together towards a brighter future."
Upon a question of a journalist asking: "The opposition is complaining that 'the characteristics of the Kurdish expansion' are unclear. What are your thoughts on this issue?" Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis replied that this was not a package but a process, as also pointed out by the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan the day before. Bagis emphasized that everyone who wished to contribute could do so and headded:
"Everyone in Turkey who wants peace and welfare, who wants to prevent bloodshed can contribute to this process with their ideas and can shape this expansion; but I do not have much to say to those who do not want to contribute to this process. I think that our people will voice its own reaction when necessary and that will be their answer."
During his visit Minister for EU Affairs, Bagis expressed that Topbas exerted great efforts to render Istanbul to be the European Capital of Culture; and he reminded that to this end, the mayor and the governor of Istanbul traveled abroad together for the first time in the history of the Republic.Resource: AA