Egemen Bagis, Minister for EU Affairs, took his office from the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Babacan during the ceremony in Secretariat General for EU Affairs.
In his speech, stating full membership is a strategic goal for Turkey, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said this state policy passed from government to government for years.
Reminding that this process brought along with economic criteria, Babacan mentioned that this process is important for Turkey in order to have sound public finance and to strengthen its economic structure so that basic economic indicators show reasonable numbers.
Congratulating Bagis for his new post, Babacan underlined his trust to Bagis that he will do his best and wished success to Bagis. Stressing on they will work more closely with Bagis, he said Bagis will focus on negotiation process and will be close follower of seriously needed reforms and added Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be ready to give his full support with all means in this process.
In his speech, Minister for EU Affairs Egemen Bagis said that it's a great honor for him to take over the responsibility of Turkey's EU membership negotiations. Bagis stated that for following period, they will work closely with Mr. Babacan and members of Foreign Ministry so that full membership of Turkey will be obtained at soonest time.
Mentioning officials of Secretariat General for EU Affairs are significant milestones of EU project; Bagis said "together, we will try hard for the interest of a more modern, more democratic, and more prosperous Turkey".
Bagis mentioned that EU and the opportunities that EU presented were great advantages for Turkey; he also added that EU began to accept the contributions of Turkey as immense opportunities to the EU.
Bagis said that the world appreciated the point Turkey reached by applying continual reforms up to now. He emphasized that those experienced in Turkey were considered as a silent revolution and the EU had considerable contributions to this process and he added: "It is needless to hesitate that we do our best to actualize these reforms with the philosophy of ‘keep going without stopping".
Indicating that the EU project could only be achieved by the full support of all political parties, all public institution, nongovernmental organizations and the citizens, Bagis said: "I expect the support of all citizens of Turkish Republic".
Bagis continued as follows: "I believe we can reach to a certain extent on this project that is very important for the future of our children, by ignoring all dissimilarities and acting all together, with the young and the old, the easterner and westerner, Alewi, Sunni, Turkish, Kurdish, Muslim, Christian and Jewish and the whole richness of this country, with coordination, sole heartedly".
Pointing out that the EU was aware of the importance of Turkey for living in a more peaceful geography, Bagis said that when the events that the world experienced today were considered, the contributions of Turkey to the EU were as important as, or more important than, the contributions of EU to Turkey.
Bagis also stated that the accession of Turkey to the EU was going to be a historical turning point that would serve to peace and welfare of humanity; he added that this was one of the essential aims of the government.
Emphasizing that the accession to EU was a significant part of Turkey's conventional foreign policy goal to integrate with the west, Bagis told that owing to that reason, in that process, there was going to be a close relationship with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on that subject, and he said "This is a long process, a long lasting marathon. In this marathon, we have been running without having out of breath, by regulating our speed and force, without experiencing engorging, and we are and will be running ceaselessly".
Bagis expressed that besides the things that Turkey had to do, EU had to something as well, the addressees of Turkey should consider the sensibilities of Turkey, added Bagis and said "I am sure that EU will accomplish the responsibilities that they has to. As Turkey we also strive to bring about our responsibilities."
Bagis said "We want EU to be just and fair to Turkey" and also added that their greatest expectation from the EU was to play the game according to the rules, not to create new rules and restrictions during the game.
He expressed that EU should avoid applying policies that would dishearten and demoralize Turkish people and also keep away from policies that could disturb the feeling of equality, he repeated their expectation from EU to be just and fair to Turkey.
As to the Alliance of Civilizations, Bagis mentioned that Turkey was a vivid example of that attempt and this might be the biggest contribution of Turkey to EU. He said that the EU accession process of Turkey which was observed closely by 1.5 billion Muslims all around the world would give a clear message to the whole world.
Bagis also emphasized that they carried out the reforms not for the sake of EU but for their respect to the right of Turkish people to live in more modern country.
"We consider EU as the dietician of Turkey" said Bagis, and added: "We all know that it is necessary to lose weight to have a healthier life but we cannot achieve it by ourselves. Yet, if we go on a diet that is prescribed by a dietician, we become healthier. There are 27 countries which achieved that."
Bagis drew the attention to the importance of complying with EU criteria to gain the place and standards that Turkey and Turkish people deserved.
Bagis thanked not only to the President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ali Babacan but his spouse and children who would show the greatest self sacrifice in that process. Chairman of the TGNA EU Harmonization Commission Yasar Yakis, the members of Parliament and the officials from Secretariat General for EU Affairs attended the ceremony.