Egemen Bagis, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator , met, in a breakfast, with AK Party Izmir Mayor Candidate Taha Aksoy and Mehmet Tekelioglu, Izmir Deputy, and the administrators and the reporters of newspapers and televisions in Izmir.
Egemen Bagis, noted that, since he took office, "EU had been a common denominator and had been the project of not only today's generation but also the project of the children and next generations.
Bagis, pointed out that he had met with all authorized persons including the two opposing parties and added that he had been waiting for an appointment from one of the opposing parties. Bagis stated, regarding the EU issues, he had received support from all parts ranging from the President to the minor party.
Bagis emphasized that he was extremely hopeful about EU membership. He said that, when other EU members were taken into consideration, Turkey's situation would be much more prosperous after the process. Bagis continued his speech by saying:
"The decision regarding the membership will be given after the process. We do not accept an alternative other than full membership. In this process Turkey will either be a member or not. We have declared clearly that we can not accept an approach such as privileged partnership. When the negotiations end, Turkey can be a member to EU despite some defects like Bulgaria and Malta experienced with."
Bagis stated that, no other EU member country had exceeded the membership process of 50 years and added that when AK Party had come to power, 43 years had been completed. He also said "We will not extend the process that much anymore."
Mentioning also the democratic improvements in Turkey, Bagis pointed out that no negative response had been observed regarding the return of Nazim Hikmet's citizenship to Turkey. Bagis stated that, as a country where a prime minister had been executed 50 years ago, where the books had been banned 30 years ago and where a mayor had been sent to prison 10 years ago for reading a poem, Turkey had taken great steps towards democracy and it was progressing in the best way.
Bagis also mentioned about the reaction of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and added that, by displaying a brave manner, Erdogan had been the voice of the world's conscience. Bagis pointed out that his reaction had not been towards any country, any religion or any nation but he had criticised the attacks aimed at children.
Bagis declared that Prime Minister Erdogan had been spending great effort in order to ease all the pains of the world since he had taken office. Bagis continued by saying that Erdogan had taken active roles not only in Gaza but also in fight against natural disasters in various geographies or in ensuring peace in political disputes. Bagis stated: "Turkey is absolutely a European country, but at the same time an Asian, a Middle East, a Black Sea, a Caucasian and a Balkan country" and added that "with this feature, Turkey displays a difference from other countries."
Despite the statements of so called intellectuals who claim that Turkey has drawn apart from Europe, Member of the Parliament for Paris Pierre Lellouch who had been the foreign policy advisor of Jacques Chirac, the former president of France, stated that "Turkey is getting closer to Europe."
Declaring that he had agreed with Lellouch's statement, Bagis said: "How more effective Turkey becomes in Middle East regarding the world's critical matters, it will become that much valuable and indispensible for EU. When Turkey holds its power in its own region, this will not reduce its strength in Europe but rather reinforces its power in Europe. When serenity and peace exist in those regions, EU will also benefit from this situation. If Turkey is the country to ensure the atmosphere of peace, it is certain that, the EU will understand the value of Turkey."
Bagis stated that he had the chance of working together with Taha Akyol, AK Party Izmir Mayor Candidate, in the previous period. He said that "I know him very well and I believe that he will be an extremely efficient mayor for Izmir and therefore I support him."
Egemen Bagis, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator , paid a visit to Cahit Kirac, the governor of Izmir, in his office within the framework of Izmir programme. Bagis said that "Izmir will probably be one of the most important showcase cities in the process of EU negotiations. I believe that, Izmir will be a very important place in terms of inviting my European colleagues and showing them how wonderful a country Turkey is."
Delivering a speech at the conference on "a New Phase on Turkish-American Relations" held by Turkish American Business Association (TABA) within the Izmir programme, Bagis stated that the relations of Turkey with its neighbouring countries have gone through serious changes since 2002, Turkey becoming a country of good relations with all its neighbours.
Indicating that the relations between Turkey and America don't rely on the fact that Turks turn a blind eye to this alliance, but rather focuses on mutual interests, Egemen Bagis stressed that Turkey is not "an alliance at hand" and he went on his speech as follows:
"If there are 20 issues discussed in Washington today, Turkey is an actor country in at least 15 of them, just like it is in Brussels, London and Peking. There can be no solution to the issues discussed without Turkey. Therefore, Turkey is a critical and essential country for USA, and so is it for Turkey.
There are various fields of mutual interest: NATO is the leading one. There may be some circles bringing Turkey's NATO membership up for discussion. But as the General Staff stated last Friday, Turkey-NATO relations is a critical one and is one of the most important partnerships Turkey has. Turkey took many important steps under the scope of NATO membership. Behind Turkey's being a power within its area lie the feature of its being a democratic and social state of law and following this, its being member of NATO. We must never lose this feature and our richness."
Stating that USA also supports Turkey on Cyprus Issue, Bagis continued the committee arriving at Ercan Airport after the voting of Annan Plan consisted of USA congress members, and subsequent to this event other countries paid visits to Cyprus.
Bagis indicated that, USA, the first to announce PKK as a terrorist organization, has an efficient role in changing its European allies' viewpoint on this issue and added that the slowdown starting after the 1 March motion on the relations between Turkey-USA was overcome through Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's message to the US President Bush, telling that Turkey is unified under a single umbrella and with the help of intelligence report sharing started at that time, significant progress was made in the fight against terrorism.