EFA-AN Meeting 2010 was held in Istanbul!

International Conference on “Free Movement of People between Turkey and EU Countries and Visa Issues”Club Alpbach Turkey organised an international conference on “Free Movements of People between Turkey and EU Countries and Visa Issues” in cooperation with Istanbul Chamber of

Commerce on 16 April 2010. The key note speeches of the Conference were made by Helené Flautre, who is the Co-Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, and by the Turkish State Minister for EU Affairs and the Chief Negotiator, Egemen Bagis. Ms. Flautré emphasised that Europe should be saved from its visa paranoid whereas Mr. Bagis stated that the sincerity of Europe shall be judged upon her reaction to the precautionarymeasures taken by Turkey on visa issues.

                                                                          

“Free Movement of People between Turkey and EU Countries and Visa Issues”

Club Alpbach Turkey organised an international conference on “Free Movements of People between Turkey and EU Countries and Visa Issues” in cooperation with Istanbul Chamber of Commerce on 16 April 2010.

The key note speeches of the Conference were made by Helené Flautre, who is the Co-Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, and by the Turkish State Mi nister for EU Affairs and the Chief Negotiator, Egemen Bagis. Ms. Flautré emphasised that Europe should be saved from its visa paranoid whereas Mr. Bagis stated that the sincerity of Europe shall be judged upon her reaction to the precautionary measures taken by Turkey on visa issues.

The visa policy of the EU is against law and justice

In his speech, Mr. Bagis indicated that the visa policy applied to Turkey by Europe is against law and justice. He continued as follows: “Visas shall be removed any way but the most important thing is the removal of the prejudices, in other words, visas on the minds. The most significant obstacle of the EU is her prejudices against Turkey.”

Turkey’s Membership is an important opportunity for the EU

Dursun Topcu, Vice President of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce; Erich Gornik, Vice President of European Forum Alpbach and Heide Maria Gurer, Austrian Ambassador to Turkey made the opening speeches. Mr. Topçu stated that Turkish people are oppressed by such humiliating implementations like being kept too long to receive visa, having to prepare so many documents and being subject to detailed interrogations. Although Istanbul Chamber of Commerce has signed bilateral agreements with some of the EU Member States like Italy and France to facilitate visa procedure for its members, it is essential that the EU should understand that Turkey’s membership is not a threat but an opportunity for the EU to become a global power.

Turkey will implement the required precautions

Having said that Turkey would get over the obstacles one by one on her way to the EU, Mr. Bagis also reminded that Turkey was going to apply biometric passport system by 1 June 2010. In addition, he emphasised that Turkey still needed civil security forces for the borders. Another important technical problem that Turkey should solve was the structuring of readmission agreements on which both his Ministry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs was working very hard. Bagis added that “After the conclusion of these studies, we will see how sincere the EU is in respecting the ethical principles”.

Austria is ready to take the necessary steps

Heidemaria Gurer, Austrian Ambassador to Ankara, stated that the relations between Turkey and Austria had developed considerably and the visa process was very important in this context, adding as follows: “The subject has been analysed by the experts. Austria is ready to assist and take the necessary steps. However, Schengen countries should decide together for the visa facilitation. We try our best to facilitate visa applications and have been quite successful.”


Turkish People should travel freely around Europe

The Co-Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, Helené Flautre, emphasising the importance of free movement for the development and human rights, said that “We all should support the initiatives for abolishing the visa regime for the future of Europe. We, as politicians in Europe are in a sort of dilemma; European politicians act within the general politics and bring new restrictions for migration. Therefore, they prevent the free movement of persons. We should work together to change this paranoid politics. We should chance the paranoid policy of Europe. I am planning to devote my energy to realize this goal. All Turkish people should travel freely around Europe. Turkey waits for the full membership to the EU and hence, Turkey also has some home works to complete. I believe that prejudices about Turkey in Europe could be overcome and a co-operation could be built up by organising such meetings”.

Europe should respect the diversities

Prof. Dr. Erich Gornik, Vice President of European Forum Alpbach, informed the participants about the Forum and its activities, underlining its aims as to removing the conflicts within Europe. Mr. Gornik continued his speech as follows: “We organise annual meetings to remove conflicts that still exist in different parts of Europe, we establish Clubs and initiative groups that can communicate with each other. If we influence the ideas of the next generation there will be no more visa obstacles and people to can move freely. It is very important for us if the young people join us. Europe has been ruling the world for 200 years and entails different cultures. These values constitute our prosperity. These diversities will serve to develop multi-cultural Europe. Our aim is an open Europe where different nations and different cultures respect each other.”

 

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