Turkey can be EU’s growth engine: Gül

Turkey can be EU’s growth engine: Gül

Turkey can be EU’s growth engine: Gül

Turkish President Gül. AA Photo

Turkish President Abdullah Gül said Turkey could offer the EU more than security assistance with its growing energy resources, population and dynamism, in an interview in Ankara with the British Sunday Telegraph newspaper released on Nov. 19.

“Some of us are in Asia, some in Europe. We are at the very center of both sides,” Gül said. “Turkey is a natural part of Europe,” he said. “Being a member of the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights; being one of the oldest members of NATO, as well as being part of European culture and art - this is a natural path Turkey is flowing along,” Gül said.

“People who think in a narrow scope and who lack strategic perspective consider Turkey’s EU membership a burden,” he said. “But those who can think 30 years, 60 years ahead and who can think about the changing trends in the economy and the changing centers of power, can understand how much strength Turkey could bring to the existing strength of Europe,” Gül said. “In the past it was only considered from the perspective of security, Turkey being a strong and old member of NATO,” Gül said. “But now, consider the potential that Turkey has: Turkey’s position, her assets, the value she can add in terms of energy resources, her population, the dynamism she can bring into Europe and also the growth that she can bring, with Turkey being the engine of this growth.”

Gül said there was no longer a place for authoritarian regimes in the Mediterranean region.

“Iran is a very important country in the region, with its potential, its history and its culture,” Gül said. “The situation in a way is turning into another era of the Cold War. We are trying to eliminate the lack of trust or confidence between Iran and the Western world, trying to build confidence and acting like a catalyst, for example concerning the nuclear issue,” Gül said.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bağış said yesterday no one could argue that Turkey was perfect with democracy, freedom of expression and individual rights at global standards. “Yet, today’s Turkey is much better than yesterday’s,” said Bağış on Nov. 19 at a summit in Istanbul, Anatolia news agency reported.

“Tomorrow’s Turkey will be better than today’s. What makes Turkey a source of inspiration is this process of change,” he said.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Nov. 19 that Turkey knew the EU rules and acted in accordance, during the Session of Ministers as part of the “World Turkish Entrepreneurs Congress” in Istanbul.

Davutoğlu said Nov. 18 that their goal was democracy at EU levels and production at Chinese levels. While producing at Chinese levels, Turkey will reach EU standards in human rights, democracy and labor union rights, he said.

The comments from Turkish leaders came as Europe was suffering through a sovereign debt crisis and mounting doubts over the viability of the eurozone and its currency union. The debt trouble recently claimed two heads of state, with Greece and Italy being taken over by technocrat governments, and Spain’s social democrats were likely to be shown the door in national elections held yesterday.

Much of Europe is buried under deep sovereign debt and bailouts from the IMF and European Central Bank have been necessary on many occasions over the past two years. The emergency financing has managed to save a number of government’s from defaulting on their debts, although uncertainty about the ability of Greece and others to implement unpopular austerity measures demanded by lenders continues to weigh on growth rates and inflate interest rates.