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 Anti-Muslim prejudice delays Turkey's EU entry

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Numarul mesajelor : 667
Data de inscriere : 2009-06-13
Varsta : 44
Localizare : Cairo, Egypt

PostSubject: Anti-Muslim prejudice delays Turkey's EU entry   Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:47 am

DUBROVNIK, Croatia — Anti-Muslim prejudice and xenophobia in the West are behind the delay in Turkey's half-century quest to join the European Union, a Turkish minister said.

"Unfortunately, the fact that most Turks are of the Muslim faith also creates a baseless suspicion," Egemen Bagis, minister for EU affairs, told Reuters in an interview.
"People tend to fear what they do not know."
Turkey, a predominantly-Muslim but a secular country which straddles Europe and Asia, applied for EU's membership in 1959 and became an EU candidate in 1999.
But Ankara's half-century quest to join Europe's 27-country club has been dogged by problems since it was made an official candidate in October 2005.
France and Germany lead opposition to Turkey's membership in the European Union.
If negotiations succeed, Turkey would be the first major Muslim country to join the European bloc.
"There is a suspicion that when Turkey becomes a member, Turkey will become more influential than most of the founders of the EU," Bagis said.
"It is not easy for some countries to accept this."

Sign of toleranceThe chief negotiator said that Turkey's EU entry will be a sign of tolerance to the Muslim world.

"This process is very closely monitored, followed and evaluated by 1.5 billion Muslims in the world," he said on the sidelines of a conference of top officials from across the Balkans.
"Every meeting I have with my European counterparts, I can feel the pressure of these 1.5 billion people on my shoulders."
Bagis said that denying Turkey the EU access would send a negative message to Muslims worldwide.
"(If the EU turns its back on Turkey), not only Muslims all around the world, but all people, all humans, will somehow feel that they have been isolated from the West.
"If a country like Turkey ... is still discriminated against ... then the message that those billions of people get is going to be a very negative message.
"But when Turkey completes our negotiations, they will also be given a beacon of hope that they, too, have a place in the contemporary world," he said.
If Turkey were to join the EU today, its population of 71 million would make it the second-largest country in the bloc.
"Europe needs Turkey at least as much as Turkey needs Europe," Bagis said.

"Turkey will not accept anything less than full membership."

Source: IslamOnline

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