Marking year 5 of EU talks, Bagis warns of strained patience over political obstacles
In a message marking Ankara's fifth year in accession talks with the European Union, Chief Negotiator for EU Talks Egemen Bagis urged EU member countries to make up their mind about Turkey. Stating that Turkey's efforts have the same enthusiasm and excitement five years after the start of its accession talks, Bagis also warned that Turkey's patience shouldn't be tried by persistent political hurdles being placed before it. As only 13 of Turkey's 33 chapters have been opened in its EU accession talks, with 17 blocked for political reasons, Bagis said, "Though the technical process of accession talks between Turkey and the EU is being blocked through political tricks, our determination and resolve remain undimmed." Saying that he consistently tells EU officials that Turkey's patience is strained and that the current situation is unsustainable, Bagis said, "Launching accession talks with the EU wasn't Turkey's ultimate goal. Our ultimate goal is full membership." Stating that over the last eight years Turkey has seen major transformations, Bagis said, "Turkey has become a more democratic and free country, with a stronger economy and greater international clout, in the process refuting the arguments of the EU's Turkey-skeptics." Pledging that Turkey will determinedly continue to pursue its full membership goal, Bagis said, "But our European friends need to make up their minds about Turkey. As Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently said, Turkey is not a country that can be kept waiting at the door forever." Also over the weekend, addressing a conference at Istanbul's Bilgi University which also featured a speech by former US President Bill Clinton, Bagis said nearly 3 billion people living over a vast region are closely following developments in Turkey's EU accession process, and thanked Clinton for supporting Turkey's bid. Bagis added, "There is no shift in Turkey's axis, but it is only doing what should be done in the 21st century."