‘If EU bid fails, Turkey will go to Disneyland’

‘If EU bid fails, Turkey will go to Disneyland’

RIGA - Anatolia News Agency
‘If EU bid fails, Turkey will go to Disneyland’

Latvian President Andris Berzins (L) shakes hand with Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bağış as they met yesterday in the Latvian capital of Riga. AA photo

Turkey will join Disneyland if the European Union does not accept it as a member in the end, EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bağış said yesterday in Latvia, responding to a student’s question with a joke.

“Don’t go to the one in Europe, it is worse [compared to the Disneyland parks in America],” said Political Science Professor Daunis Aures of Latvia University.

Delivering a speech at the University of Latvia on the EU membership process, Bağış said the EU was not only an economic and political union but also a peace project.

“Thus a peace union should not have geographical borders,” he said. “The EU should keep its doors open to every country that believes in democracy and peace and was ready to contribute to those values. The EU, which was a continental peace project, would be a global one with Turkey’s accession.”

He said Turkey’s EU bid would speed up with the work being done on a new civil constitution. He also said Europe should have more effective solidarity with Turkey in the fight against terrorism because the outlawed Kurdistan Wokers’ Party (PKK) controls organized crime networks and is also a threat to Europe.

During his visit to Latvia, Bağış conveyed Turkish President Abdullah Gül’s message to Latvian President Andris Berzins as they met yesterday in the Latvian capital of Riga. Bağış thanked Latvia for its support of Turkey’s EU membership bid.

“While Turkey’s need for the EU declined, the EU was in growing need of Turkey. When there is a balance of mutual need, Turkey would become a member of the union,” Bağış said yesterday at a joint press conference following a meeting with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics.

“I see no reason why Turkey should not become a member. Reasons that support Turkish membership are more than those that oppose membership. I am confident that Turkey’s EU process will end with success,” Rinkevics said.

“We extend full support to Turkey and to the opening of more chapters in entry negotiations, primarily the one on energy. Our economic relations with Turkey are growing. We have taken a decision to boost bilateral ties and dialogue. Latvia is with Turkey in counter-terrorism.”

Yesterday marked the 73rd anniversary of modern Turkey founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s death. Bağış said Atatürk foresaw a body like the EU. Atatürk was a prominent leader who mentioned a body resembling today’s EU 20 to 30 years before its establishment. Atatürk greatly contributed to the foundation of a Balkan Pact, and he was hoping that this pact was going to enlarge and become the EU of today, Bağış said.