Visit of José Manuel Barroso in Turkey: meeting with Ali Babacan, Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs, and with religious leaders
End production: 11/04/2008 First transmission: 11/04/2008
José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, visited Turkey from 10 to 12 April 2008, accompanied by Olli Rehn, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement. This was his first visit to Turkey as President of the European Commission. He met with Abdullah Gül, President of Turkey; Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister; Ali Babacan, Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs; and addressed the Turkish Parliament. He also visited Istanbul and the Bigli University. After his meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, José Manuel Barroso said that Turkey had made significant progress in implementing European standards, while stressing that the country should expand and accelerate reforms. Speaking to Turkish parliamentarians, José Manuel Barroso said that the reforms would be the best way to ensure the progress of negotiations. He also welcomed the recent initiative of the Turkish government, which has submitted to Parliament's amendment very controversial Article 301 of the Penal Code, which states that any criticism of the Turkish identity is prohibited. He said that this was a step in the right direction, considering that this article was incompatible with the values of freedom of expression that exist in Europe. José Manuel Barroso also recalled the concerns of the Union concerning the recent decision by the highest Turkish court to rule on a case concerning the prohibition of the ruling AKP party and its main leaders, including Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Abdullah Gül. He said that the fact that a party chosen by the majority of the Turkish population would be subject to this type of investigation was not normal in a stable democracy. At a joint press conference, José Manuel Barroso and Recep Tayyip Erdogan recalled that only a full-fledged candidacy of Turkey to the EU would be accepted. Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he hoped that the European Commission would continue to support the candidacy of the country, as it has done so far.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, welcomed by Bartholomew I, Patriarch of Constantinople
||General view of the meeting between José Manuel Barroso and Bartholomew (5 shots)
||José Manuel Barroso visiting the orthodox church (3 shots)
||José Manuel Barroso leaving
||José Manuel Barroso and Olli Rehn, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement, receiving a gift
||Cutaway: Turkish flag
||José Manuel Barroso with businessmen (2 shots)
||Ali Babacan, Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs, (in TURKISH) saying that Turkey's target about the European Union is the full membership and nothing else
||José Manuel Barroso (in ENGLISH) saying that they need the backing of the public opinion in Europe and the public opinion in Turkey to go on with this very important process of negotiations; this is one of the messages he has tried to convey; he was very happy to see that this message was understood when he made his speech at the Parliament, because afterwards he met different leaders of the opposition and he thinks that all of them understood their accent in this spirit of compromise underneath to have a broad political consensus to go ahead with their common work, of course in the full respect of the competences of all the institutions and also of the several differences that exist inside Turkey and also inside the European Union