Minister for European Union Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis evaluated the “2011 Regular Progress Report for Turkey” in a press conference held at Ortakoy Office of the Ministry for European Union Affairs.
Minister Bagis implied that Progress Reports could be described as documents in which EU takes the picture of the candidate and potential candidate countries in terms of their alignment with the EU, and he said “Even though the report seems to be objective and balanced, unfortunately it does not reflect the picture as proper as it should be. It seems that EU’s camera falls short of catching the rapidly changing image of Turkey”.
Stating that there were many areas which are not clear in the photograph of Turkey but it also concentrated on the wrong points and Bagis said “2011 Progress Report confirmed that Turkey had made progress in terms of both economic and political criteria as well as in 33 chapters except one”.
Pointing out that some expressions based on misinformation and certain single cases were likely to evoke a wrong impression on the implementation of the reforms and he said
“The EU has been generous with its criticism but not with its praise”. He added that they saw a status quo approach to areas that are obstacles to Turkey-EU relations.
Minister Bagis said “In the political criteria section, the report emphasizes the commitment of our government to the EU accession process and particularly considers the establishment of Ministry for EU Affairs as the reaffirmation of this commitment” and he noted that the Report appreciated our Ministry’s efforts to involve NGOs in the process and underlined the work carried out at local level as regards the appointment of a Deputy-Governor in every province as the EU Contact Point.
Bagis said “The Report welcomes the steps taken by our Government to draft a civilian Constitution based on the widest consultation possible”.
Bagis mentioned that the biggest expectation of the EU in the 2011 Regular Progress Report for Turkey was a new civilian Constitution. Noting that the report welcomed the steps taken by our Government to draft a civilian Constitution based on the widest consultation possible, and he said “The biggest expectation of the EU in the coming period is a civilian Constitution, which is also one of the priorities of our government with or without the EU accession process”.
Stating that in the Report, Supreme Military Council meeting of August 2011 was an important step towards the civilian oversight of military, however it underlined the need for the change in the composition of the Supreme Military Council, in the military justice system and in the Personnel Law of the Turkish Armed Forces, and Bagis said “the Report assesses a good progress as regards civilian oversight of military expenditure with the adoption of the Law on Turkish Court of Accounts but stresses out that more steps are still needed”.
Mentioning the Cyprus parts of the Report, Bagis said that they wanted to damage Turkey by hiding behind the South Cyprus Greek Administration; actually such an attitude which is also reflected in the report will only damage the global vision of the EU. He said “Everyone should know that Turkish Cypriots will not pay the price of deadlock. The European Union without Turkey and TRNC will be insufficient in international relations.
Stating that the Report referred to the arrested journalists and, Bagis underlined that there was no single journalist who has been arrested or sentenced because of his/her profession.
Bagis said “Report’s allegation that Turkey’s approach to minority rights continues to be restrictive has been received with great disturbance from our part. I’m proud of being a member of a government that resolved a problem that has been pending since 1936”.