23 June 2005ROME - Pope Benedict XVI reiterates his skepticism on Turkey's European Union membership in his first book published since his inauguration.
Former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's views are set down in "The Europe of Benedict, in the crisis of cultures," which was presented in a ceremony Tuesday. The 152-page book, sections of which were made available to the press, contains material first written in 1992 and updated as recently as early this year, shortly before Benedict's election to the papacy, according to the Cantagalli publishing house.
According to Italian news agency Apcom, the pope invites people to rethink Turkey's EU membership. The pope described Turkey's position by saying, "Turkey is a state affected by Islamic culture, and it lacks Christian roots."
"Ataturk tried to change Turkey into a secular state in order to adopt the Christian secularism found in Europe," the pope said, adding, "European identity can only be determined by the norms and content of the similar enlightened cultures. All the states that can adopt these criteria could be European."
Last August, while still a cardinal, Ratzinger said in an interview, "Turkey always represented another continent throughout history, in permanent contrast with Europe," so to equate the two continents "would be a mistake."
The New Anatolian, 23 June 2005