9th May Europe Day symbolises the milestone in the transformation of “Europe” from a geographical term to a Union with the objective of common aspirations and values. The Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950 by Robert Schuman, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, paved the way to the foundation of the European Union, the most important peace and development project of our era.
The European Union has primarily brought peace to a continent torn apart for centuries by war, has ensured the increase of welfare in the European countries by establishing a functioning common market and has continued its development to create a common future and to emerge as a global power through the adoption of common values.
Turkey’s bid for EU membership is essentially an expression of peace, economic development and achievement of high living standards. The EU symbolizes protection of the diversity of cultural values, welfare, and most importantly, a common future built on these ideals. Despite the current turbulence experienced by the EU, the EU will be shielded from this as long as it adheres to its strong and deep-rooted values and principles.
However, the extreme right, which is strengthened by Islamophobia and the opposition to migration, is the most important threat to EU values. Furthermore, public statements based on these discourses made by political leaders who are representatives of extreme right and populist tendencies result in the erosion of these values and principles.
Turkey has emphasized from the start that the EU should distance itself from groundless fears and prejudices impeding its development and adhere to its fundamental values. Turkey will be the most important supporter of the EU in this process.
We believe in the common values and common interests of Turkey and the EU. We prefer to talk about areas for cooperation in the forthcoming period with EU institutions and Member States rather than “concerns”.
During this period when European politics is dominated by extreme rightist discourse, Turkey, a democratic secular state governed by the rule of law, will continue to realise the required reforms and maintain its presence as a prestigious member of the democratic and free world. We believe in a common future with the EU, based on these very values.
I would like to sincerely congratulate all citizens of European Union and Republic of Turkey, who believe in peace, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and universal values, on the occasion of the 9th May Europe Day recalling the principles it symbolises.