European leaders question Turkey’s place in EU, following strong criticism of Pope

.- The President of Bavaria and prelates of Britain’s Catholic and Anglican Churches are among the most recent European leaders to wonder whether mostly-Islamic Turkey has a place in the European Union, especially following the country’s reaction to words of Pope Benedict XVI.

Edmund Stoiber the president of the German region of Bavaria and leader of the Christian Social Union Party (CSU), the “little sister” of Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union, proposed today that deliberations on Turkey’s possible acceptance into the European Union be ended.  According to Europa Press, Stoiber says the reaction of many of the ruling political leaders in Turkey to the words of the Pope was reckless and overly critical.

The Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Turkish religious authorities continue to demand that the Pope make a more sincere public apology for the words he spoke in a discourse at the University of Regensburg, during his visit to Germany the 9th through 12th of this month.

A high-ranking Turkish politician even went so far as to compare Benedict XVI to Hitler or Mussolini, a comparison which exasperated Edmund Stoiber, who thinks that “Turkey is not now in the condition to enter the European Union.”

“Turkey is not Europe nor does it belong to the continent, because the country has such great cultural and spiritual differences with western values,” Stoiber said.

Meanwhile the ranking prelate of the Catholic Church in England and the former head of the Anglican Communion have asked similar questions.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster (London), told the Times, “I think the question is for Europe: will the admission of Turkey to the European Union be something that benefits a proper dialogue or integration of a very large, predominantly Islamic country in a continent that, fundamentally, is Christian?”

Cardinal O’Connor said that the majority of English people are Christian who, regardless of the secular nature of their country, have a deep yearning for God, based upon their Christian traditions.

A large majority of Briton Christians belong to the Church of England which Lord Carey of Clifton used to head.  The former Archbishop of Canterbury added his voice to those questioning Turkey’s place in the EU yesterday, telling the Today program that “Surely a European community has to be more than economic? It has to have common values and so on."

"I think the jury is still out on Turkey at the moment. I look at its record on freedom of speech, what it is doing to writers in Turkey who want to speak out, and some of them are in jail,” Carey continued.

"I think we are on a journey together. I don’t write them out of the action but there are questions to be pushed."

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