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Vatican official says resolution to issue of religious freedom in Turkey urgent

.- Speaking to the Italian daily La Repubblica, the President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Paul Poupard, said a resolution addressing the lack of religious freedom and the discrimination against Christians in Turkey is urgent before a decision can be made about accepting that country into the European Union. “Regarding Turkey’s entry into the EU, it must be seen whether the country’s intentions to resolve its numerous interior problems are real,” the he stated. “The lack of religious liberty and Christians treated as second-class citizens” were a few of the problems Cardinal Poupard said needed to be addressed. “All of this for a future EU country is simply absurd,” he maintained.

“Each time I have visited Christians in Istanbul and Antioch,” he added, “I have seen the difficulties in which they live and that they lack sometimes even the most basic of human rights.” “If the negotiated agreement recognizes these rights, then I will be happy but it must be a concrete agreement and not a façade,” the cardinal warned.

He said the possible entry of Turkey into the EU “is the beginning of a path, of a dialogue and of a willingness that, I hope, is not just a façade.”

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