Turkey appreciates Arab support for EU membership

Turkey's European Union Minister Egemen Bagis said Turkey appreciated Arab countries' support for Ankara's EU bid.

Turkey appreciates Arab support for EU membership

Turkey's European Union Minister and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis said Turkey would keep on supporting the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), expressing his countyr's appreciation for the support Arab nations extended for Turkey's EU accession.

Speaking at a press conference in Jeddah on the first day of his visit in the Saudi Arabian city Bagis said, "EU should never underestimate Turkey. It needs Turkey more than Turkey needs EU."

The Turkish minister pays a visit in Jeddah upon the invitation by the President of the Organization for Islamic Coopeation (OIC) Ekmelettin Ihsanoglu.

Bagis said all Turkish citizens benefited from Turkey's EU accession process, citing the landmark reopening of an Orthodox Christian church on the Akdamar island of Lake Van in eastern Turkey, where hundreds Armenians conducted in September 2010 a religious service for the first time in 112 years.

Rejecting any 'axis shift' in Turkey's foreign policy, Bagis said, "Turkey is a bridge between the West and the East, the North and the South. Forcing it to make a choice is the biggest injustice."

Following the press conference, Bagis, accompanied by Turkey's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, visited Ihsanoglu in his office.

During the meeting they discussed Turkey's relations with the OIC and the EU.

Reminding that 10 percent of the EU population is composed of Muslims, Bagis said, "Islam is a fact of. It is a positive development that the EU countries started to acknowledge this fact, albeit a bit late."

Bagis will attend on Saturday at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce a conference on "Potential Economic and Commercial Impacts of Turkey's EU Membership on the Middle East and Islamic Countries."


Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Mayıs 2013, 09:33