Turkey's state minister for the European Union (EU) and chief negotiator said on Saturday that the European Union (EU) membership bid was a modernization process that should be backed by every one who were supporting democracy, transparency, cooperation and mutual understanding in Turkey.
Egemen Bagis said Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan defined the EU process as the most important modernization project in Turkey after the declaration of the republic.
"Believing in EU membership means believing in Turkey's transformation, and defending and respecting freedom of every individual," Bagis said during a dialogue meeting with the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Istanbul.
Bagis defined EU membership as a project for which every one in Turkey should exert efforts for, and expressed the need for the support of NGOs, local administrations and young people.
The minister said the government was implementing its EU strategy with determination.
However, Bagis said, the EU should also clarify its attitude towards Turkey.
"The chapters on which we cannot begin negotiations are prevented due to political reasons, but every political reason has a political solution," Bagis said.
Bagis said Turkey's axis and path was full membership to the EU, and the real agenda of EU membership process for Turkey was democracy, justice, development, human rights and freedoms.
Turkey should take its place in the EU, otherwise EU photograph would not be full but would turn into only a signboard union, Bagis said.
"We want is fair negotiation and treatment"
Bagis said the EU should clarify its attitude towards Turkey as soon as possible so that Turkey would see that it was not walking towards a path, the end of which was unknown.
"What we want is fair negotiation and treatment, and the EU should end its double visa standards," Bagis said.
Bagis said integration and harmony could be achieved only with communication and interaction, and visa obligation would be lifted sooner or later.
Europe should also sincerely fight against the PKK terrorism, and behave rationalistically and fairly regarding Cyprus issue, Bagis said.
Bagis said Turkey's direction was towards Europe, and nobody could question Turkey's location and belonging in the continent of Europe.
Turkey's leaders should be in the EU summits, Bagis also said.
Turkey became an EU candidate country in December 1999. The union launched accession talks with Turkey on October 3, 2005. The EU has so far opened 13 of the 35 chapter headings to negotiations with Turkey.
"Turkey's transformation serves all interests"
Chief of European Union (EU) delegation in Turkey on Saturday said Turkey's transformation toward becoming an EU member served the interests of all citizens in the country.
"The EU is trying to strengthen basic standards and rights in the membership process in which Turkey, too, had made commitments. The transformation and change in Turkey is in the interest of all people in your country," Marc Pierini told a meeting in Istanbul on improving dialogue between the Turkish government and civil society organizations.
Pierini said civil society organizations played a major role in any functioning democracy, adding that EU attached great importance to the development of civil society organizations in Turkey as part of country's EU accession process and its political reforms.
The EU official said the Union called on Turkey to launch a comprehensive discussion that would involve opinions of all segments of the Turkish society for a constitutional reform which included issues such as decentralization, strengthening local administrations and solid measures under a government effort to widen fundamental rights and freedoms.