Minister Bagis indicated the following in his article
Turkey’s application for membership to the European Union (EU), with which we are currently carrying out accession negotiations, dates back to 1959, two years after the establishment of the European Economic Community (EEC). However, the EU is unfortunately the only European organisation of which Turkey is not a member.
In fact, when the Council of Europe was established in the aftermath of World War II, the first decision taken by the Committee of Ministers was to invite Turkey to become a member. Whereas Turkey joined this organization in 1949, Spain and Portugal became members at the end of 1970 and Central and Eastern European countries began to be members in the 1990s.
In 1952, Turkey became a member of NATO three years after its establishment and three years prior to the membership of Germany.
Even if we take account only of these facts, we can say: “Discussing whether Turkey is a European country or Turkey’s EU membership is no longer relevant.”
It is obviously a serious contradiction that Turkey, a country that has been jointly striving with the people of Europe for 60 years within the framework of NATO, is still not a member of the EU.
Turkey provides a unique opportunity for the solution of the problems that faced by humanity, not only on a regional but also on a global scale.
Turkey, a democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law, and of which the majority of the population is Muslim, is one of main supporters of peace and tolerance in a wide geography.
The Turkish model constitutes an indispensable part of the inclusive vision which the EU should adopt in the 21th century.
In this context, it is more appropriate and meaningful to discuss new “waves of enlargement” rather than “enlargement fatigue” within the EU.
We believe that enlargement is not an exhausting but a strengthening process for the EU.
In fact, enlargement is the only solution for an EU struggling against the effects of the global economic crisis. Every country that has become a member of the EU has contributed to the cultural diversity and values of the EU, and most of all, to the vision of its future.
As Turkey, we attribute great importance to the role that the EU will assume for a more peaceful, stable, harmonious and prosperous environment in a wider geography and on a global scale.
However, the tendency of the EU to be inward-oriented and to repeatedly question its commitments with reference to Turkey is regrettable and unfortunate.
Turkey would not disrupt the unity within the EU; on the contrary, Turkey would be a component unifying the EU Member States around the objective of stronger, more effective and a more visionary EU.
It should not be forgotten that the decision which initiated the accession negotiations between Turkey and the EU was signed by all EU Member States.
The link between Turkey and Europe is not the EU acquis of approximately 120 thousand pages but the common values shared by our peoples.
The discussion on Turkey’s membership to the EU and even its Europeanness contradicts not only fairness and the principle of pacta sunt servanda but historical and geographical realities.
In fact, we are pleased to have proven the irrelevance of this discussion not only through historical, cultural and geographical arguments but also by the steps recently taken by Turkey towards democratisation.
Turkey today is more integrated with the EU and closer to EU membership than ever as a result of the determined steps taken by our government in the past 9.5 years.
Our determination to achieve and even go beyond the EU standards is a matter that should no longer be questioned or need to be repeated.
We certainly know our responsibilities during this process and fulfill these. We are taking the steps required for the EU accession process and harmonisation with the EU acquis. We have no doubts regarding this matter.
The commitment of our government to this objective is demonstrated by the fact that 13 chapters have been opened to negotiations and the opening and closure of one chapter despite all political blockages and discouragement.
Our main objective is to bring Turkey to a level higher than that of contemporary civilization and to provide our people with the same opportunities of a European country. The EU is most important mechanism to achieve this objective.
Thus, we will continue to meet the necessary criteria for opening and closing chapters.
We will carry out our commitments as we have always done. We will remind the EU on every occasion that it should also do the same.
In fact, the process of the Positive Agenda, a bridge bringing us together with the European Commission, will enable us to immediately open the chapters once the blockages have been removed.
We crossed a historic threshold when the Council of the EU gave the mandate to the European Commission to initiate the visa process with Turkey. The fact that an administration which we do not recognise has signed such a decision indicates that unfair treatment of Turkey from some circles within the EU will no longer overshadow our justified arguments.
Turkey will not be victim to the dilemmas of an EU caught between sentiment and reason.
We are continuing the process with confidence. All the determined steps we have taken for democratisation and the enhancement of human rights are the outcome of this confidence.
Turkey has become a country that discusses its own taboos. Turkey is determined not make any concession regarding democracy and to guarantee the fundamental rights and freedoms of all its citizens.
It is clear that Turkey is already in a better position than many EU Member States in terms of democratisation and development.
We hope some EU Member States are also able discuss their own taboos and regain their confidence.
Turkey will not make any concessions regarding progress and development, fundamental rights and freedoms, and democracy and the rule of law, and will not deviate from this path.
Source: Star Gazetesi