Walking westwards: Turkey's European vocation

3 December 2009

Egemen Bağış, Turkish Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator, congratulated the EU on ratifying the Lisbon Treaty, which he said would enhance its potential as a global actor. Turkey and the EU share the same values and goals and Ankara’s reform programme will make the country a better democracy and peace-builder. Given its unique identity, Turkey plays an important role between east and west, and works to increase regional stability, prosperity and security.

Turkey is a G20 member, Europe’s sixth largest and the world’s 15th largest and third fastest-growing economy, and would bring added-value for the EU.

The government is addressing its internal problems relating to the Kurds, minorities, and women, and he hoped this new approach would bring peace.

On energy, as a country in a region with 70% of the world’s energy resources, Turkey provides a natural energy bridge to the European Union, and supports projects related to the Southern Energy Corridor, including the Nabucco pipeline.

The on-going process with the EU helps bring about change, making Turkey more democratic, prosperous and stable, he said.

Cyprus remains a touchy subject and Turkey will only meet its commitments under the Ankara Protocol when the EU fulfils its promises to the Turkish Cypriot community, as “a promise for a promise”. He hoped the two Cypriot leaders would reach a solution before the Turkish Cypriot community’s Presidential elections in April 2010, and any solution should be based on political equality, and be bi-zonal and bi-communal in nature.