The Church Jesus Built, German version

What Happens After Death?, German version

Is The Bible True?, German version

Heaven or Hell?, German version

Bible Prophecy, German version

Will the European Union be a "Christian" club?

January 28, 2008: The World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, Switzerland provides an opportunity for political and economic leaders to exchange ideas and reflect on the future. However, this past weekend Turkish foreign minister Ali Babacan raised a question once asked by former Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz some ten years ago.

During a visit to Washington D.C. in December 1997 to seek support for his country's bid for EU membership, Yilmaz accused former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl of wanting to make the EU into a "Christian club." Kohl had said earlier that the EU was founded on Christian principles, a statement that Yilmaz interpreted as intended primarily for his country with its predominantly Muslim population.

In comments to reporters made outside the WEF meeting, Babacan said a European Union with only "Christian" members would be "against the very soul of the EU." Babacan's comments may be an attempt to diffuse concerns in Europe over the direction his government is taking on lifting the ban on the Muslim head covering for women at Turkish universities. Babacan regretted that the issue of religion had apparently become a factor in the debate on Turkey's bid for EU membership.

Although French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been less vocal on the issue in recent weeks, he made headlines after taking office last May with his strong opposition to Turkish membership. Sarkozy argued that Turkey, being a predominantly Muslim country, really does not belong in Europe. Germany's grand coalition government is officially committed to continuing the EU negotiations on Turkish membership, but Angela Merkel's party allies repeatedly emphasize that the negotiations are open-ended with no predetermined outcome. After Turkey refused to provide access to its ports for unrestricted trade with EU member Cyprus in 2006, the EU froze negotiations on eight chapters of the negotiation package. Presently Turkey has initiated talks in six of the 35 policy areas that are a part of the membership negotiation process.

Babacan also argued that a European Union with Turkey as a member could possibly serve as a bridge between the Christian West and the Islamic world. That viewpoint is also popular among European politicians who support Turkish membership. Others, however, continue to be afraid of Turkey and even wonder whether the Turkish military might intervene in domestic politics to protect the Kemalist doctrine of separation of church and state.


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Making Life Work, German version

What is Your Destiny?, German version

Gospel of the Kingdom, German version

The Ten Commandments, German version