Message By The Minister Of Foreign Affairs H.e. Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu On The Occasion Of The Europe Day, May 9th
Europe Day, May 9th, which we have been celebrating along with all the other peoples of Europe since 1999 when Turkey’s candidate status for the European Union was recognised, is the symbol of the European integration on the basis of common interests and values.
Europe Day also offers an occasion to assess the current situation of European integration and to discuss plans for its future.
Significant success has been achieved in the 64-year long European integration process. This process, which started with six countries, now includes 28 member states. European integration has contributed to the establishment of a general environment of peace as well as to increasing economic prosperity.
The EU is the world’s largest economy with its population of more than 500 million and a gross domestic product in excess of 17 trillion US Dollars. It has a comparatively advanced level of economic welfare and equality in income distribution.
Our hope, as a close economic and commercial partner of the Union, is that the EU can sustain this economic performance and that it will overcome the uncertainties emerging after the economic and financial crisis by means of structural reforms and measures.
On the other hand, xenophobic and racist tendencies across Europe triggered by the economic and financial crisis have recently reached notable dimensions. Cultural diversity is one of the most important factors strengthening and enriching the EU. It is also important that the EU covers a broader geography hosting different cultures in order to overcome the crisis and maintain its competitiveness vis-à-vis rising economies. For these reasons, necessary steps should be taken to prevent such trends that might compromise the Union remaining a center of attraction.
The EU should also look into Turkey’s accession process from this broader perspective, and consider the contributions that Turkey would make to the Union in the present global transformation process.
Turkey’s membership to the EU will be a development that is consistent with the flow of history. Turkey has been influenced by the events in Europe throughout history, and it has in turn influenced the events on the continent. It endured great sacrifices for the safety of Europe in the past, and assumed a role in the establishment of peace and stability in our continent each time the European security architecture was redesigned. Today, with its active foreign policy, Turkey leads the list of countries that may contribute to Europe’s political stability and its emergence as a powerful global actor.
Furthermore, Turkey is today at a different stage in economic and political terms than it was in 1963, the year when the Association Agreement was signed with the EU. It undertook significant political and economic reforms in parallel with regional and global developments, particularly during the last decade. Thanks to these reforms, Turkey has complied with the European standards in many areas and the harmonization process is being resolutely pursued.
Our main expectation is that the accession negotiations are conducted and concluded as a technical process without being subjected to political obstacles.
Should the visa liberalisation dialogue initiated between Turkey and the EU last December successfully finalized the people of Turkey and those of EU member states will be better acquainted with each other and get closer and also mutual interaction in areas such as trade, tourism, culture, science and art will increase. Our Government’s efforts in this area will continue.
Turkey has always been a part of Europe historically, geographically, politically, economically and in the social and cultural sense. It will continue to contribute to the contemporary Europe in every area and to help to take forward the European project.
With these considerations, I extend my congratulations to our citizens and all Europeans for Europe Day.
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