Turkish Minister Says Constitution Needs Amendments

TURKISH MINISTER SAYS CONSTITUTION NEEDS AMENDMENTS

Anadolu Agency
March 4 2009
Turkey

Istanbul, 4 March: The Turkish state minister and chief negotiator
for EU talks, Egemen Bagis, said on Wednesday [4 March] that Turkey,
with its current Constitution, could not be a member of the EU.

"I hope we will amend the Constitution with the support of opposition
parties after local elections," added Bagis who addressed a panel
discussion on "Treaty of Lisbon and Turkey’s accession process to EU"
at Fatih University in Istanbul.

Reminding that Treaty of Lisbon was signed on 13 December 2007 but
approval process was hitched by the referendum in Ireland, Bagis
said that Turkey needed the approval of 27 EU-member states to open
chapters in membership negotiations with the EU. He added that when
Lisbon Treaty was approved, decision-making process in the EU would
function faster.

Bagis said that Turkey was currently in local election process
and parliament could not work thus, many legal arrangements could
not be made. He said that they aimed to make legal arrangements,
especially trade law, with the support of opposition parties after
the local elections.

Noting that Europe had a serious energy shortage, Bagis said that
Turkey was the critical country in Nabucco Project which would meet
Europe’s energy demand. Bagis added that energy chapter heading could
not be opened in EU negotiations because Greek Cypriot administration
rejected.

When a participant asked whether Turkey would cooperate with Armenia in
energy issue, Bagis said that Turkey was exerting efforts to make its
relations with Armenia well, but the relations had not yet reached to a
level to cooperate in energy area. He added that Turkey showed goodwill
to Armenia many times and Armenia should show its good will too.

Upon a question whether Turkey could be an EU-member with the current
Constitution, Bagis said, "Turkey, with its current Constitution,
cannot be a member of the EU. I hope we will amend the Constitution
with the support of opposition parties after local elections are held."

Expressing belief that Turkey would have a contemporary Constitution,
Bagis said that there would not be an election for the next 2.5 years
after the local elections were held and necessary changes would be
made by evaluating that 2.5-year period.

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