Bagis: Chapter 22 is no more than a beginnig
Turkey's Minister for EU Affairs and the Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis paid a visit to Paris, where he held bilateral talks with French Interior Minister Manuel Valls on Turkey's expectations during the EU term presidency of Ireland, after the French government approved the opening of Chapter 22 on regional policy and coordination of structural instruments. Although former French President Nicolas Sarkozy had blocked the opening of five chapters in his term due to the Cyprus issue and adversely affected the economic relations between Turkey and France, opening this new chapter has been regarded as the reflection of new French President Francois Holland's positive attitude towards Turkey and warmly welcomed by the Turkish part. Stating that Turkey plans to open new chapters to its EU membership talks during the term presidency of Ireland starting in January 2013, Bagis said that they were determined to enhance the relations between Turkey and France which were almost frozen during the presidency of Sarkozy despite the historical ties between the two countries. "We are surely happy about this development, but we are aware that this is not enough and is just a beginning," he added. Bagis said that the acceleration in Turkey's EU membership bid was caused by the remarks made Prime Minister Erdogan, who said that Turkey was running out of patience about accession. "Some people were unable to understand these remarks. Erdogan's statement about a possible membership to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization accelerated the process of opening a new chapter and it was a strategic step. "According to the data from OECD, the United Kingdom will be the top ranking economy in 2050 and Turkey will rank the second. A young population, demography and economy are very vital criteria for this ranking. Some people think that Prime Minister Erdogan's suggestions to have at least three children in each family are related to his beliefs, but actually there is an economic strategy behind this," Bagis said. Erdogan, for his part, restarted to include visits to EU countries into his agenda. Having visited a number of Balkan States recently, Erdogan is planning to visit Denmark on March 19 and the Netherlands on March 20 and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to visit Turkey on February 25.