Bağış hints at apology to reporters
ANKARAEU Minister Egemen Bağış said yesterday he could apologize to jailed journalists for describing them as rapists and bank robbers in a recent interview, but said his ministerial duty was to defend Turkey abroad.
“If some people would be appeased, I could [apologize]. But I didn’t say that the journalists arrested on charges of sexual assault, bank robbery, murder and membership in terrorist organizations are ‘guilty.’ I believe that a person is innocent until proven guilty,” Bağış said.
“Their arrests have nothing to do with the government,” he said, adding the courts would eventually decide whether each journalist had committed a crime. “I’m Turkey’s chief negotiator and EU minister. I don’t criticize Turkey in Europe or in any live broadcast abroad. I defend it. That’s my duty,” Bağış said.
The minister spoke to reporters during a meeting with Greek Ambassador Fotios Jean Zidas, who paid him a farewell visit.
In a message to Greece, Bağış called for further efforts to strengthen the ties. “We need friendship and solidarity rather than new tanks, guns, submarines, or planes. We need new roads, hospitals, and schools,” he said.