Catholic Archbishop questions Turkish entry to EU

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales today questioned whether Turkey should join the European Union. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, echoed comments previously made by Pope Benedict XVI in saying that the predominantly Muslim state was not culturally part of Europe.

His comments came as the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, also questioned the admission of Turkey into the EU.

Cardinal Murphy O’Connor questioned the position of Tony Blair who has consistently argued for Turkish membership of the EU on the grounds that exclusion would be damaging, arguing:

“There may be another view that the mixture of cultures is not a good idea. 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?”

Times, 21 September 2006