Turkey's chief negotiator for European Union membership said Wednesday that Turkey would be the EU's engine of growth when it joined the bloc. Ali Babacan, who also holds the post of economy minister, said at a press conference that in opening negotiations with Turkey on Oct. 3, the EU had taken a step toward becoming a global power with healthy relations with the Islamic world.
"Turkey will be the engine of the EU's economic growth," Babacan said. "Turkey is on a road that will lead much faster to its becoming a country suiting its potential and riches."
Turkey would be the EU's first majority-Muslim member country and with a rapidly growing population of 70 million could become its largest member.
The country's membership negotiations are expected to take a decade or more, and Turkey's negotiations mandate specifies that membership cannot be guaranteed.
The government will have a public relations challenge both inside and outside Turkey during the negotiations, Babacan said.
"For domestic public opinion, during the EU process it will be necessary to constantly explain what we are doing and why we are doing it," he said. "As for international communication, more work needs to be done so that Turkey is more accurately perceived in EU member countries," reports the AP. I.L.