Turkey to launch major pr campaign in Europe to dispel prejudices about its EU accession bid
Turkey is gearing up to launch a major communications strategy using all available assets to persuade a skeptical European public about its European Union membership bid, State Minister Egemen Bagis, Turkey's top EU talks negotiator, announced on Wednesday. Speaking in Vienna, Austria, Bagis that the government is about to finalize the details of the comprehensive strategy and that his office will be submitting the plan for approval at the Sept. 14 Cabinet meeting. Bagis added that Turkey's Secretariat General for EU Affairs (ABGS) has asked for input from all embassies representing Turkey in EU member states on how to best to address the domestic audiences in those countries. According to a preliminary report, the government is planning to actively use Turkish expatriates in EU countries and will reach out to print and broadcast media to communicate Turkey's stance on a number of issues. Meeting with Turkish community leaders in Vienna, Bagis also announced that the government is planning to establish an agency to deal specifically with Turks living abroad. He said Ankara expects Turkish expatriates to integrate into the larger societies they live in. "We want you to be actively engaged in the community and get better education for the younger generations so that you don't isolate yourself but instead live in harmony with the indigenous population," he said. He added, however, that there is a large difference between integration and assimilation, and called the latter a crime against humanity. Bagis also made a plea for Turks living abroad to better organize themselves and act in solidarity with each other. "A better-educated Turkish community whose strength comes not from sheer numbers but rather qualitative assets will play a prominent role in overcoming the prejudices and biases widely prevalent in EU member countries," he added.