AK Party Vice Chairman Egemen Bagis was the guest of TV8's program ‘Discussion Hour' which is prepared and presented by Nasuhi Gungor on March 22nd 2008.
Bagis answered the questions of Nasuhi Gungor and Yasar Taskin Koc, Ankara Representative of News24, on different subjects like the closure case and its international reflections, Turkey's role on regional crisis to Turkey's struggle with terrorism. Bagis stated that despite all the difficulties Turkey has moved forward during AK Party governance and it will go on doing so.
Bagis firstly stated on the closure case against AK Party and said that Turkey is not a lonely island in the ocean, as a country that is the co-chair of the Alliance of Civilizations every action in Turkey is followed carefully in the world. The whole world is appreciating AK Party governance's attitude towards democracy and world peace and the reactions of Minister of Foreign Affairs of England Mr. David Miliband and Federal Republic of Germany Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier are good examples of this fact.
Bagis said "We find it strange that AK Party, which has raised Turkey's democratic and economic standards up and that got 1 of each 2 votes in Turkey, faces such a situation." Bagis added "It is not a nice image to the world. The case has been rejected in the conscience of our people and the world. We don't have any doubts. We as AK Party, which is the hope for Turkey, will overcome this process without any tensions and go on to take Turkey to the best standards.
Bagis answered the question whether anything is being done on the international platform about this problem by "We have told what we have succeeded during AK Party governance on different platforms and we will continue doing so. We will do everything that will not harm Turkey's image."
STRUGGLE WITH TERRORISM
Bagis said they are glad about the reaction of the USA to the closure case. "But we have different problems. First of all, the struggle with terrorism that has to be resolved. During the visit of Mr. Cheney to Turkey we will stress on these points."
Bagis reminded that AK Party has solution based policies and said "Turkey had military operations to Northern Iraq on air and on ground. We have destroyed terrorism and we have brought Turkish democracy to a certain standard. We can't comment on the court's decision, but all these improvements have been shadowed with this case and this is unfair for Turkey."
"WE ARE STRUGGLING FOR DEMOCRACY"
During the program, Bagis's letter to Los Angeles Times was brought up. Bagis answered the question by saying "AK Party's legitimacy and devotion to democracy in Turkey is as strong as the statute of liberty in USA. Turks have been Muslims for about 1,300 years. This happened long before the AK Party government. We, as AK Party, are only upgrading the country's democratic standards against those who believe that the nation does not deserve an advanced democracy."
NEGOTIATIONS WITH EU
Bagis also mentioned Turkey's negotiations with the EU. Bagis said that Turkey has turned itself to the west and AK Party governance has realized turkey's 42 year-old dream and it is committed to close the negotiations successfully.
To the comments that there has been a standstill within the last 2 years on EU process, Bagis said: "Not Turkey but EU has slowed down the process; EU wants to do it so because they can't catch up with us. Because they know that Turkey will be the most powerful country, the locomotive countries want to slow it down. We know that EU process is a long path, every country that starts negotiations know that. There is no country that has started the negotiations process but could not end it. Sometimes us and sometimes the EU member countries will determine the speed of the process. We have announced which reforms we will and when we will do them till 2013. We are on the path of a healthier, more prosperous and a more modern Turkey. Everyday a new gang is being clamped down. During this process of course there will be ones who would like to take advantage of it but these will not hinder AK Party's decisiveness. Bagis told Gungor who also mentioned that the process will be hard "Everybody could overcome if it was easy; we are on the ring because it is difficult."
TURKEY-USA RELATIONS AND PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN USA
Bagis answered the questions on how the USA election results would affect Turkey by saying he didn't think it will have major effects on us. We might face some problems on the first hand but we already transfer our sensitive issues. Whoever becomes the president will look at the map, see the importance of Turkey and will not do anything wrong. If we protect our economy and don't fray ourselves we won't face any difficulties.'
TURKEY: HEADQUARTERS OF PEACE
About Turkey's role on regional events Bagis said "Turkey has come to a point in the region where Israel's Prime Minister calls our Prime Minister when he wants help for the kidnapped Israeli soldiers. Or when Lebanon is occupied by Israel, Lebanese Prime Minister calls Turkey for help. Tony Blair first calls Turkey for help when 14 English soldiers are kidnapped; the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan decide to meet in Turkey. Turkey has become a country in the region where it is powerful and it can solve complex problems. Turkish passport will be the most valuable one for Middle East and in this geography where Turkey is located."
"THE COST OF CONFLICT IN THE MIDDLE EAST"
AK Party Foreign Affairs Department hosted a workshop on Cost of Conflict in the Middle East on the 15-16th of March 2008 in Antalya, bringing together leading opinion-makers from Israel, Palestinian territories, Arab states and Turkey. In addition, experts from Switzerland, Norway and the European Parliament, the important countries and institutions that have conceptualized several peace initiatives in the Middle East, participated in the workshop. Mr. Bagis didn't answer questions about the meeting saying that it would be against the regulations of the meeting. Bagis said they have formed a platform where everybody could open heartedly express themselves and exchange ideas.
Mr. Bagis added that since the have been in charge they have 2 important projects first is the Alliance of Civilizations which is co-chaired by Spain. The second one is Izmir's candidacy for Expo 2015 and becoming a member of United Nations Security Council. At the same time Istanbul's 2010 European Culture Capital Project shows the point which Turkey reached. Turkey is emerging fast and it will go on doing so.
Cyprus issue was also on the agenda where Mr. Bagis said; without relocating a soldier we have changed the balances in Cyprus. Mr. Bagis noted that they want a solution which would be acceptable for both sides that's why they will react according to this.