Orthodox Christian

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Turkey Assailed for Lack of Religious Liberty


ROME, MAY 11, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Turkey's lack of respect for religious liberty is one of the major obstacles for its admission to the European Union, says the commissioner for EU enlargement.

GŁnter Verheugen, who is also a former German Foreign Minister, made this statement Thursday after being received in the Vatican by Archbishop Jean- Louis Tauran, secretary for relations with states.

"The Catholic Church has no rights in Turkey," Verheugen told the press later. "I have discussed with the Vatican the ways to resolve this old, old problem."

The European commissioner acknowledged the Turkish government's willingness to comply "as soon as possible" with the conditions required to begin negotiations with the European Union. In 1999, Turkey was given the status of candidate for admission.

"However, among the problems that must be resolved are fundamental rights, and in particular religious liberty, which will be one of the most difficult," Verheugen said.


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