"NATIONAL PROGRAM" BRIEFING
Secretary General of EU Ambassador Oguz Demiralp, Head of the National Program department Nilgun Ozalp and Head of Political Affairs department Alp Ay gave briefing on "National Program". Bagis replied to questions of deputies during the briefing at the Turkish parliament.
Bagis said being accompanier to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in EU negotiation process since 2002 will contribute to his works as a chief negotiator. He stressed that since the beginning of the negotiations Turkey has carried out its EU process without making any concessions regarding its national policies so far.
"If we compare Turkey's EU negotiation process to a marathon, we have run this marathon by using our breath properly so far. We will continue to manage our breath well," Bagis said.
Bagis explained why EU's political and economic criteria resembled a prescription written by a dietician. "Twenty-seven countries have used the prescriptions of the EU , which are called the master economic criteria and the Copenhagen criteria. We intend to utilize those prescriptions". Bagis said, noting that such criteria made those countries more democratic, improved their economies and provided better life standards for their citizens.
Reminding Turkey's need for fulfilling EU preconditions and criteria Bagis said only then Turkey will be a full member of EU and a part of the decision making mechanism in the EU Parliament. Bagis also explained hostility towards Turkey's EU membership as a result of EU members' fear of Turkey's potential power in the EU decision making process.
Bagis stated that National Program is an overall modernization process and requires intense consultation mechanism, in which contribution of the opposition is essential. "Our country needs change in many aspects such as the protection of the rights of children, more participation of women in social life, improvement of economy, liberalization of the media and improvement of freedoms. All of these changes aim at bringing Turkish citizens higher standards" added Bagis.
Stressing that there is no alternative of EU accession when the negotiation process is completed, Bagis said hostile movements towards Turkey's membership have no binding power over the result of negotiations. "I always do and will emphasize that we will not accept any other alternatives than full membership in any occasions" underlined Bagis.