Turkey to make essential reforms on its way to EU

Turkishpress.com - Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said the coming period was a time for Turkey to take brave steps and make essential reforms on its way to the European Union. Turkey and the EU started accession negotiations on October 3rd, 2005 and just over the past one year, Turkish Parliament passed 29 bills that are directly related to the EU negotiations, Babacan recalled. "It is impossible to take such brave steps in a short time without a strong public support," Babacan, who is also the chief negotiator for the EU, told a conference on developing civil society between Turkey and the EU. "The policy to become an EU member country is a strategic target for Turkey and it has also become a state policy. But Turkey is also a country that has a long way to go in terms of political criteria," Babacan said. He said, however, Turkey has achieved a lot in fundamental rights and freedoms, as well as the rule of law. "When you look from the eyes of someone observing Turkey from outside, these achievements are described as revolutions," he said. Babacan also said that Turkey has changed a lot over the past five or six years, not only in economic level but also in the level of democratization. "Turkey is now a country, an economy and a society which is more open when compared to five or six years ago," Babacan said.