Walesa: "An EU without Turkey is unimaginable"
Turkey is a crucial part of Europe, said legendary labor leader and former Polish President Lech Walesa at a panel in Ankara on Friday. Walesa spoke at a conference on democratization, rights, freedoms and the European Union, marking the 35th anniversary of the founding of the Hak-Is labor confederation. Also attending the panel were State Minister Egemen Bagis, Deputy Prime Minister Huseyin Celik, Labor and Social Security Minister Omer Dincer, union heads, ambassadors, diplomats and Balkan trade unionists. "Turkey has many opportunities that Europe doesn't have. I have observed this," Walesa said in his speech. Asked if Turkey being a Muslim country is hindering its membership process, Walesa rebuffed this view, saying that in terms of its history and culture Turkey has a lot to offer Europe. "You have a perspective," he added. "It is their (Euope's) own self-interest that is making it difficult. There is too much bureaucracy, and your work is getting lost in it. You are a brave nation, maybe you can start protesting them. It is about the preparedness of Europe." Walesa declined to give his view on Turkey's headscarf, saying it must be solved internally. "I can't imagine a Europe without Turkey," he added. "This is my fourth time in Turkey, and I love it more each time. I would live here if I was younger."