"I CANNOT THINK OF A FORMULA WITHOUT TURKEY. I KNOW THAT THEY CAN NOT EITHER."
Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis who delivered a speech in the General Assembly of the Business Life Cooperation Association (ISHAD) made an assessment on the tension experienced in Davos, current economic process and EU process.
Alluding to the tension experienced in Davos, Bagis said, "I did not get surprised very much because Tayyip Erdogan who left the podium yesterday is the same person with the one who had left the table in the 2004 summit when a new paragraph relating to Cyprus was added at the last minute."
Bagis, indicating that Prime Minister Erdogan had taken such position before, said: "This is not a new person and a new approach. This is the position always taken by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey who has always given precedence to the dignity of Turkey, the dignity and honour of Turkish nation and who has tried to do his best while using his representative authority delegated to him. However, I am sure this will be named in literature as the Davos position from now on."
Bagis, indicating that the entire world is closely following the events, said: Prime Minister Erdogan yesterday gave voice to the conscience of the world, thus received supporting messages not only from the Middle East but also from many western countries.
Speaking about the progress that Turkey has made in terms of economics, politics and diplomacy since 2001, Bagis stated that although a significant turmoil is being experienced in finance and politics, it did not made a serious impact on Turkish economy.
Reminding that the world is going through a troublesome process in terms of economics, Bagis stated that it had influences on Turkey but the other side of the coin should also be seen.
Bagis, making an assessment on the EU process stated that EU is the most important modernisation project after the declaration of the Republic of Turkey: "It is a great honour for me to take such a responsibility in a project to which such a great importance is attached. However, I am aware that it is not an easy mission. On the one hand we need to explain our 70 million citizens how EU will contribute to our country and what kind of advantages it will provide and on the other hand we also need to explain 500 million prejudiced Europeans how Turkey will contribute to the EU. I cannot carry this burden alone."
Egemen Bagis told that they are working together with other ministries, non-governmental organisations and bureaucrats within this framework. Indicating that EU is the common denominator in Turkey though there are divergences in many issues, Bagis said that Turkey, progressing towards EU membership, would be a more democratic, more prosperous country where human rights and freedom of conscience are enjoyed in EU standards.
Bagis stated that numerous acts regarding the harmonisation process was adopted in 2008 although it was criticised to be a "lost year" and they have made a quick start to 2009 with developments such as the publication of the national programme, establishment of a state ministry focusing on this process, renaturalisation of Nazim Hikmet and the starting of broadcasts on TRT 6.
Minister Bagis expressed that the support for EU in Turkey has increased after Prime Minister Erdogan visited Brussels and Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission declared that Turkey is still keeping its target to be a Member State.
Indicating that Turkey is ready to carry out the membership process according to the existing rules, Bagis stated that they did not want the rules to be changed while the game is being played. He said: "We will keep our dignity that honoured position during the EU process. We will take the Davos position presented by our Prime Minister in Davos. No one should have any doubts about that."
Bagis stated that, some European politicians with narrow vision are taking the decision today which they should have taken then: "Successful development of this process will be not only for Turkey's but also for their benefit. It will provide them to live peacefully also. Turkey is one of the most important actors in most of the international crises being discussed today. If they want to reach a solution and peace, I can not think of a formula for that without Turkey. I know that they can not either.
Indicating, 1.5 billion Muslims in the world today are closely following the EU process of Turkey and they will take a message from this process, Bagis said that "this message would be "if you adopt democracy and fulfil the requirements of modern civilisation, you will also have a place amongst the modern world." "Or the message would be however you struggle, double standard will be applied to you" he added.
Bagis said that after his assignment as the Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator, he asked for appointments from all the state protocol and the leaders of all political parties having a group in the Assembly and with the support of the Prime Minister he gave them the message that "this is not an AK Party project but a project of Turkey."