Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-10-24-Speech-3-045"

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"Turkey still has a long way to go before it meets the conditions for EU membership. Despite considerable progress in recent years, there are still outstanding issues about freedom of expression (particularly Article 301 of the Penal Code), human rights and Armenia. However, I reject the arguments of those who say that Turkey should never be allowed to join on the grounds that it is not a European country. We have accepted Turkey as a full member of the Council of Europe for more than half a century. We have started accession negotiations, thereby recognising its eligibility to join the EU in principle. Those claiming that Turkey is not European really mean it is not Christian. But why should that be a criterion? The motto of the European Union is ‘unity with diversity’ –we are not trying to standardise cultures, but to find ways of working together while keeping our different languages, religions and so on. Accepting a secular state whose population is largely Islamic would enhance that principle."@en1

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