Turkey's EU minister says rate of Turkish people against membership reach 35-40 percent

Turkey's EU minister says rate of Turkish people against membership reach 35-40 percent

Turkey's European Union (EU) minister and chief negotiator said on Saturday that the rate of Turkish people opposing to Turkey's EU membership had reached 35-40 percent, AA reported.

Egemen Bagis said this rate was raising concerns, and Europe should solve its own problems.

"EU is today extending more support to Turkey's membership, however there are still some unsolved problems," Bagis said during the Eighth Meeting of Yalta European Strategy in Ukraine.

Bagis said if Turkish citizens had to wait to get a visa from EU member states, they naturally felt themselves less European.

The minister pointed to Turkey's growing economy, and said Turkish people used to be afraid of saying that they were Kurds.

"However, there is a TV channel broadcasting in Kurdish, and a person who was imprisoned for reading a poem in 1996 is the prime minister now and he spoke about secularist democracy to the Egyptians two days ago," he said.

Bagis also said the real thing was integration to the EU, and Turkey had done its bests to abide by recommendations.

Egemen Bagis had a meeting with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko on the sidelines of the meeting.

After the meeting, Bagis told reporters that they discussed the situation of Crimean Tatars, ways to lift visa between the two countries, and inauguration of new consulates.

"Inauguration of a new Turkish consulate general in Simferopol will boost our relations, and I told him that they may think of opening a consulate general in Antalya (southern Turkey)," he said.

Bagis said Turkey was ready to lift visa procedure with visa, and Turkey had ended visa procedures with 65 countries so far.

Moreover, Bagis interviewed with Crimean news agency QHA and said whether or not to become an EU member was not important, what was important was to develop Turkey.

Bagis said the world was changing so rapidly that the EU might seek ways to admit Turkey as a member in a short time.

"A Europe without Turkey, which is the most rapidly growing economy in Europe, Europe's sixth biggest economy with the youngest and most dynamic population and the strongest army, does not have any chance in security policies," he said.

Bagis said 70 percent of energy resources were within Turkey's territories, and the EU did not have any chance to access those resources without Turkey's contribution.

"I believe that days when Europe will see Turkey's potential is very close," Bagis also said.

Turkey became an EU candidate country in December 1999. The union launched accession talks with Turkey on October 3, 2005. The EU has so far opened 13 of the 35 chapter headings to negotiations with Turkey.

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