by Eileen Dunne
Turgut Kudatgobolik is Chairman of the Turkish Employers’ confederation and he chairs the Turkish-EU Joint consultative committee. Making the case for integration he told the conference that he had been working with other European employers’ associations for the past 38 years, and that of the 25,300 joint venture companies in Turkey, 65% were with EU companies.
Nazhan Ertan works at the Secretariat General for EU Affairs – she told us that following a domestic economic crisis in 2001 Turkey had learned lessons and the recent economic crisis had left it relatively unscathed (at present Turkey is one of the fastest growing economies in the world). While acknowledging the many challenges ahead she said progress had been made citing the appointment in Turkey of an Ombudsman and the updating of school-books as examples. She also said that recent remarks from some European Presidential palaces were unhelpful.
Joan Clos now works for the United Nations but he has just completed two years as Spain’s ambassador to Turkey – he spoke about the ‘complexity of entity‘, and recalled that when Spain joined the EU it was on a political, not economic basis (help us to develop our democracy)- and suggested that Turkey might pursue that route. On the other hand the cautioned the EU against demanding too much of the Turks.
The fourth speaker was Joao Diogo Pinto, Secretary General of The European Movement – who argued that the EU was not a closed club – he said the founders didn’t want it and the treaties didn’t allow for it.