ZENIT News Agency, The World Seen from Rome
Holy See: No Official Line on Turkey in European Union
Says Vatican Secretary for Relations with States
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 26, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See has no official position
on Turkey's entry to the European Union, says the Vatican's secretary for
relations with states.
Archbishop Dominique Mamberti today said he believes that the Benedict XVI's
visit to that country will show Muslims the esteem he feels for them.
In response to a question by a journalist in the Catholic newspaper Avvenire,
Archbishop Mamberti clarified that "the Holy See has not expressed an 'official'
position on this question."
"Obviously, it follows the question with great interest and sees that the
debate which has been taking place for some time and the positions for and
against Turkey's admission to the European Union manifest that what is at
stake is very important," said the 54-year-old Vatican official.
"Of course the Holy See believes that, in case of adherence, the country
must respond to all the political criteria established by the Copenhagen
Summit of December 2002," he added.
With specific reference to religious liberty, the prelate specified that
Ankara must respect the conditions established by the decision of the Council
of Europe, on Jan. 23, 2006, on the principles, priorities and conditions
contained in the Accession Partnership with Turkey.
Before he became Pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger gave an interview to Le
Figaro magazine on Aug. 13, 2004, in which he gave his personal views on
this issue. He said that, historically, Turkey has never been part of Europe.
"Turkey," said Cardinal Ratzinger, "which considers itself a secular state,
but with the foundation of Islam, might try to put into practice a cultural
continent with neighboring Arab countries and thus become protagonist of
a culture, with its own identity, but in communion with the great humanist
values which we should all recognize."
"This idea, is not opposed to forms of partnership and close and friendly
collaboration with Europe and allows for the emergence of a united force
that would oppose every form of fundamentalism," the cardinal suggested at
Archbishop Mamberti acknowledged that, in the wake of Muslim criticism of
the Pope's Sept. 12 address in Regensburg, the Holy Father on this trip will
show his esteem for Muslims, his desire for dialogue, and "the possibility
of collaboration at the service of man and his cause, surmounting incomprehension