World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkish European Union Affairs Minister and chief negotiator Egemen Bagis came together with leading US-based Jewish groups within the scope of his US visit on Wednesday.
Representatives of the American Jewish Committee, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), B'nai B'rith International, the Anti-Defamation League, J Street and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) attended the meeting, where Turkish-American relations were discussed.
Following his meeting with the interest groups, Bagis attended a panel discussion held at the Washington, D.C., branch of the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) in cooperation with the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF).
Speaking at the event, Bagis touched on several topics ranging from Turkey's EU accession process to the Syrian crisis.
Regarding Turkey-EU relations, Bagis stated that the EU was humanity's most important peace project. “When Turkey joins the EU, this regional project will become a global peace project. Turkey's EU accession process is followed not only by 70 million Turks or by 1.5 billion Muslims, but by 3 billion people who feel that they have been ignored by the West,” said Bagis.
Bagis also stated that he is pleased with the US's support for Turkey's EU membership, stressing that for almost three years no new chapters have been opened in the negotiations with Turkey.
Turkey began accession talks with the EU in 2005, a process that has since ground to a halt due to an intractable dispute over Cyprus and opposition from core EU members France and Germany.
Turkey froze its relations with the European Council in reaction to the presidency of the Greek Cypriots, who took the helm of the EU in the latter half of 2012.
Bagis also noted that with the opening of a new negotiation chapter, concerning regional policies, in June, Turkey and the EU will have better relations.
The EU minister also underlined that the Turkish people are running out of patience for Turkey's prolonged EU accession process. “Therefore," Bagis remarked, "we should push our EU member friends to do the right thing. In the end, common sense always wins, and I hope this time common sense will also win before it's too late,” said Bagis.
Time for international community to end ongoing 'insanity' in Syria
Touching upon the two-year-long Syrian crisis, Bagis called on the international community to act in unison to end the ongoing "insanity" in the war-torn country.
Bagis stated that this would only be possible with cooperation among international actors, adding that all the members of the United Nations Security Council should be convinced to work together.
“The international community should unite in order to end the bloodshed in Syria. The most important question is what will happen in the post-Assad era. If democracy is good for Americans, Italians, the British and Turks, then it is good for Syrians as well. Syrians themselves should decide on who their ruler should be,” Bagis remarked.Last Mod: 26 Nisan 2013, 09:13