Istanbul has "a special mission" Turkey's EU accession process
Turkey's European Union Minister wrote an article for edition of English daily Guardian.


Turkey's European Union Minister and Chief Negotiator for accession talks Egemen Bagis said Istanbul was a city "with a special mission in facilitating" the country's EU integration.
"Istanbul is a testimony to the harmony of east and west and, for this reason, it has a special mission in facilitating Turkey's EU path. The city represents Turkey's harmony and diversity, a cultural capital that reflects a centuries-old interaction between cultures and religions," Bagis told in article that appeared in Saturday edition of the English daily Guardian.
Bagis said that it was 25 years since Turkey first applied to join the European Union, and seven years since full EU membership negotiations began.
"It is a long road on which we have embarked – and we always knew the process was going to take time. But the idea that Turks are going off the idea of EU membership, or that Europeans are losing interest in Turkey, is uninformed and wrong. Quite the opposite is the case," he said.
Bagis said remarkable advances in Turkey's integration with Europe were taking place every day in Istanbul and at grassroots level across the length and breadth of the country, far away from the stuffy negotiating rooms of Brussels and Ankara.
"To increase the relevance of the EU to the lives of ordinary Turks, we have developed a national programme that aims to raise awareness of the EU reform process and build shared platforms at the provincial and local level," he wrote.
Bagis said greater numbers of Europeans visited Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, each year, adding that Istanbul "is up in lights around the world these days as Hollywood's favourite movie set: Skyfall, Argo and Taken 2 are the most recent productions to use the city as a stunning setting and backdrop. Movie directors have successfully captured its beautiful skyline and interpreted its allure for a global audience."
"Above all, in my view, the EU is a major peace project that will not be complete without Turkey. The EU is about social cohesion, tolerance and harmony. We cherish these values and recognise their contribution to peace and prosperity in our region. All we need for complete success is a clear and unbiased vision and mutual determination. Turkey is travelling a long road to deliver on its commitments. We demand equally clear determination and vision from our EU partners," he said.

Last Modified: 2012-12-23 10:52:32
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