Turkey: EU Affairs Minister, patience is not eternal

Bozkir in Rome, 'if Brussels says no, EU will lose out'

26 March, 15:39

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, March 26 - "The European Union can not afford to say no to Turkey. The consequences would be negative for Europe, certainly not for us", European Union Affairs Minister and Chief Negotiator to Turkey Volkan Bozkir said at a International Affairs meeting in Rome on Thursday.

    According to Bozkir, currently "there is to be gains on both sides, but these gains are not eternal" and if the EU were to say 'no', "Ankara certainly will not look elsewhere. Because it does not need to find alternatives". Bozkir reiterated Turkey's position at a time when European Union enlargement negotiations are in a total stalemate, saying that the history of Turkey's adhesion to European treaties ''is a long history. Turkey has been trying for 50 years" and has been "patient and tolerant". The minister said many problems were solved, but the path to the Union is still all uphill, citing that Turkey has "done its part." "We are ready starting tomorrow to work on all negotiating chapters with Brussels", Bozkir said.

    Ankara's economic weight must be heard. If Turkey were to join today, it would do so "in a very strong economic condition, in better shape than many other states of the Union". Numbers talk, Bozkir said, with a GDP of about $ 20 billion and exports of about 7 billion. Gains, therefore, continue to be present, but will not last forever, he reiterated.

    The importance incentive to convince the many skeptics of Ankara is above all energy. Turkey, a strategic energy hub straddling Europe and Asia, has shown "to be a reliable and alternative partner to Russia, thanks to the trans-Adriatic pipeline that is able transport gas from the Caspian to Puglia. Economic data is not everything, however. There is also a security emergency and the fight against terrorism", Bozkir.

    "Turkey strongly condemned the acts that occurred in Europe and the violence of Isis jihadists. Unfortunately, in Europe, many have argued that we helped them. That is completely unfair', Bozkir said adding that in Turkey, 39 million tourists arrive "without visas", making it difficult to control who enters the country.

    "We began sharing intelligence information and we were able to catch and deport 500 people", the minister said, adding that the reality "is that we should ask why and how come foreign fighters decide to leave their countries to join Isis terrorists Isis, they do not feel accepted. Maybe it is because they are regarded as 'other'". Bozkir said "a change of mentality is needed. We can no longer speak of Christian Europe. We need a new concept ". An inclusive vision, Bozkir seemed to want to say. In Turkey, he concluded, "we were able to do it, reaching a process of internal pacification in the country".

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