Monday

23rd Apr 2018

Vatican signals support for Turkey EU bid

The Vatican has indicated it supports Turkish EU accession and acknowledged Ankara's progress toward democracy at a time when clouds of doubt are gathering over Turkey enlargement inside the EU itself.

In an interview with Italian daily La Stampa, published on Wednesday (30 May), the Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said that if "fundamental rules of cohabitation" are respected, building together a common future is possible "also with [Turkey's] entry in Europe."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Turkey has come a long way and is still progressing. I mean there are evolutions. There are obviously very different positions. But it is possible to build a mutual dialogue within a framework of individuals, populations and governments who respect the fundamental rules of living together," he said.

The comments represent a shift in the Vatican's position, which had previously opposed Turkey's EU entry on the basis the country's cultural roots are too different from those of mainland Europe.

Cardinal Bertone made his comments shortly before the world's leading Orthodox prelate, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, spoke out against the discrimination of Christians in Turkey, Italian media say.

Religious minorities in the overwhelmingly Muslim country have developed high hopes that religious freedoms would increase under EU pressure as Turkey went through long negotiations to join the European Union club.

But in April three Christian publishers were murdered by radicals while a Cyprus-related freeze on EU accession talks and the advent of French president Sarkozy - who opposes Turkey's EU entry - have seen Brussels' pro-reform influence wane.

The Vatican itself does not have a clear record in its position on Turkey's possible EU membership.

Prior to his selection as Pope Benedict XVI, German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger expressed concerns over the prospect, suggesting that, historically, Turkey has never been part of Europe.

During his trip to Turkey last November, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested that the Pope told him in a private conversation that he did support Ankara's EU membership, however.

At the time, Vatican officials did not directly confirm the reports but admitted that they view the country's European path "favourably."

Analysis

Beyond macho: Turkish-EU ties

Turkey has belittled the EU in a week of macho posturing, but strategic relations go deeper than the rhetoric.

EU tells Moldova it is still corrupt

In an annual progress report, European Commission says "independence of justice, law enforcement as well as national anti-corruption authorities need substantial improvement".

EU divided over Western Balkan enlargement

After the European Commission presented its Western Balkans strategy last week, with a view of possibly integrating the region by 2025, some EU ministers were less enthusiastic after their first discussion of the new policy.

Opinion

Appeasement will not work with Erdogan

As EU leaders Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker meet president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Bulgaria, their reluctance to use their diminishing leverage with Ankara means his dismantling of Turkey's democracy only speeds up.

News in Brief

  1. Commission will 'not shy away' from Malta killing repercussions
  2. EU Commission opens probe on Alitalia state loan
  3. Paris suspect given 20-year sentence for Brussels shoot-out
  4. Merkel and Pena Nieto praise EU-Mexico trade agreement
  5. Nahles elected new leader of Germany's SPD
  6. Report: EU budget to refocus on South
  7. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  8. MEPs urge better protection for journalists

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. 'Strong suspicion' of corruption in Council of Europe assembly
  2. France tightens immigration law, sparking division
  3. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  4. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  5. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  6. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  7. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  8. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability