Babacan Warns EU Against Letting Religion Block Accession Bid

January 28, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Daily Star/Agence France Presse

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan warned the European Union against becoming a "club of Christians" as he pushed Ankara's membership bid Saturday

"If the EU finds itself as a club of Christians ... it is against the very soul of the EU," Babacan told reporters on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos.

EU heavyweights France and Germany are both opposed to full Turkish membership, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been particularly vocal, arguing that the mainly Muslim country does not belong in Europe.

Babacan regretted that the issue of religion had apparently become a factor.

"Religious lines should never be presented as a border," he said, adding that the current 27-nation composition of the European bloc already contained "huge differences" in terms of culture, religion and language.