.- The Vatican is in favor of Turkey joining the EU, said Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone on Wednesday in an interview with Italian daily La Stampa.
The cardinal was responding to a question about whether Turkey, which is grappling with a resurgence of Islamist identity, should join secular Europe.
"Turkey is a country described as secular; in Europe, secularism is exalted not as mere secularity, but as a lay belief system and in the name of this secularism all reference to Jewish-Christian roots is refused," Cardinal Bertone reportedly said.
"Turkey however, has come a long way and is still progressing,” he was quoted as saying. “There are obviously very different positions, but within a framework of individuals, populations and governments who respect fundamental rules of common living, it is possible to dialogue and to build together a common resource on a European and worldwide level.”
Last November, Pope Benedict in a surprise move began his historical trip to Turkey by expressing his support for the country's bid to join the European Union, a reversal of the position he held prior to being named to the pontificate.
During their private talks, the Pope told Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyp Erdogan that the Vatican desires Turkey's membership in the EU.