Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis said that Turkish citizens living abroad could be the greatest force of Turkey; 5.5 million Turks living in European countries, if they were well organised, in close cooperation with each other and well trained, would prevent the countries where they are living stand against Turkey's membership.
World Turkish Entrepreneurs Assembly organised with the cooperation of Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) and Undersecretariat of the Prime Ministry for Foreign Trade (DTM) was held in Lütfi Kırdar Congress and Exhibition Centre. Besides the President Abdullah Gul, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis, State Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers Hayati Yazici and Nazim Ekren, State ministers Kürşat Tüzmen and Mustafa Said Yazicioglu, Rifat Hisarciklioglu, The President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, Muammer Guler, governor of Istanbul and other guests representing the business world attended the gala dinner.
Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis, in the session titled "the Role of Turkish Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy and Lobbying Activities" said that Turkish citizens living abroad could be the greatest force of Turkey.
Indicating that the number of Turks living in EU Member countries amounted to 5.5 millions and that was more than the population of many EU Member countries, Bagis said: "So we are in the EU even if they do not want us to get access. We got access through our citizens living there, the Customs Union, our goods in EU market, our businessmen and entrepreneurs.
Bagis stated that it was clear that you could become the majority even if you are one or a small minority if you were right and you knew the way to demand justice according to the EU law.
Stating that another issue was to decide the authority which would determine whether the people came for the purpose of providing services or not, Bagis said he had made negotiations on this issue with many authorities including Olli Rehn, Member of the European Commission Responsible for Enlargement.
Bagis said that they asked the European Commission to make recommendations to the Member States on the implementation of these decisions at their lower courts. Bagis continued as follows:
"The owner and server of Turkish goods should be able to enter the country within the framework of Customs Union with those goods. We are working on the details of this issue. We are doing our best to enable our citizens to acquire the largest proportion of rights. However, this issue requires some time. It doesn't make any sense to get excited with such a decision now and take planes to go to Europe."
Bagis stated that Turkish people living abroad should attach great importance to three points. Firstly, he emphasized the importance of being organized. He added: "There is no need to re-invent the wheel. When we look over the successful diasporas, we witness that their foremost feature is their capacity to become organized. Secondly, comes the solidarity. I know that one Turk is worth the entire world but please do not let them say ‘two Turks tear at each other'". Bagis stated that the third important point is the education. He underlined that even it is not possible to surpass some groups quantitatively; by attaching importance to education, people can take their places at the key points of the country.
In his speech at the Europe-Balkans session of the Assembly, Bagis stated: "some people may tend to exploit the attitude of Turkey within the NATO during the EU process. However, Turkey which is a candidate country for EU is the member of NATO." He added: "As the representatives of a country serving NATO devotedly, we will not be deterred by people relating our EU accession process with the NATO".
Bagis said that the support for EU in Turkey differs periodically. He added that the support for Turkey in EU member states is not high because of the slow functioning of the decision-making mechanisms of EU.
Bagis declared: "For the global competition, EU needs to have decision-making mechanisms functioning more rapidly and effectively. It needs not only qualified majority but a structure divided into committees or decision making mechanisms according to themes."
Regarding the Turkey's accession to EU, Egemen Bagis said: "We are progressing determinedly towards the accession which is regarded as the last stop for our EU train. Sometimes train slows down because of the snow and frost. Sometimes sun rises, snow melts down and our train goes faster. But it is for sure that every train that went through this railway reached the goal; namely finished the negotiations. Turkey has started the negotiations and will finish."
Bagis stated that Turkey proceeds in the EU process determinedly and he added:
"Some people can compare apples to oranges. Some people may tend to exploit the attitude of Turkey within the NATO during the EU process. It is true that Turkey is a candidate country for EU but it is a member of NATO. We are the second biggest military force of NATO. Within this scope, we fought in Korea, Somalia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Afghanistan. In some of these, our soldiers died. As the representatives of a country serving NATO devotedly, we will not be deterred by people relating our EU accession process with the NATO. In NATO we do not want more than we deserve, but we cannot also accept the less."