Vatican in favor of Turkey’s entry into Europe

Source: FSSPX News


On December 27, 2006, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of State of the Holy See, answered questions from La Documentation Catholique in an interview published in the January 7 edition and entitled: “Benedict XVI strengthens dialogue with Islam.”

On the “very painful question” of Lebanon, and the Christians in the Middle-East, Cardinal Bertone declared that the Church “had taken many initiatives and was using all possible channels, including ones with non-Catholic Christians in this area, to create points of dialogue and convergence on precise objectives. The Church also wants to encourage the international community to eradicate the hotbeds of war, reduce tensions and lead the warring factions to dialogue.” “The Church wants an international conference and hopes to take part in it to obtain at least some result.” “The pope wrote to the Christians in the Middle-East at Christmas to this effect.”

“If the Christian communities disappear from the Middle-East, it will be an irretrievable loss,” explained the cardinal. “In Lebanon, they are part of the identity and of the survival of the country. The Maronites have been the backbone of the Christian presence in the East and they have contributed to its existence for centuries. So, it is more urgent than ever on the international level to obtain a result, however small, which would make it possible to break the stalemate. This is already a major objective for 2007.”

Recalling the visit of Benedict XVI to Turkey, Cardinal Bertone specified: “Concerning the Christian Turks, the problem is that of the recognition of their basic rights. These are natural rights of the human person and of the minorities in a country where the majority of the population follows another religion. We proposed the setting up of a joint commission between the Turkish authorities on the one hand, and on the other, the local Church and the Apostolic Nuncio to deal with practical issues.”

The cardinal, who was present during the meeting between Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, and Benedict XVI, affirmed that: “it was obviously in the Prime Minister’s interest to meet the pope. This contact was very positive and gives the Turks a good calling card for Turkey’s entry into Europe.” And he added that the pope and the Holy See had “no special power to favor or to veto Turkey’s entry into Europe. But it does seem that Europe without Turkey would no longer benefit from this bridge between the East and the West, as Turkey has always been present throughout history. Turkey has been a partner of Europe for a long time.”

“Today, Turkey has a particular system of secularism and a regime which tends to be more democratic,” he continued. It is in Europe’s interest to help it to be a true democracy in order to strengthen ever more a system of values. Moreover, to leave Turkey outside of Europe would run the risk of fostering Islamic fundamentalism inside the country. Integration into Europe can be achieved by various concentric circles with a first circle of countries historically European and presently united in the Euro zone, and a second level for those who are more remote.”