EU rejects open door policy and becomes Christian club, says Ali Babacan

EU rejects open door policy and becomes Christian club, says Ali Babacan

PanARMENIAN.Net - Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan complained on January 29 that the European Union was becoming an inward-looking "Christian club", slamming a lack of progress in his country's bid to join.

Speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos that included EU President Herman Van Rompuy, Ali Babacan said: "We always thought the EU is a big peace project... but then the enlargement process literally stalled.

"Open door policy is no longer there," he added. "And one of the big themes about why Turkey cannot become a member of the European Union is because it is a Christian club. This is in our view very, very dangerous," he said.

Ankara began accession negotiations with the EU in 2005, but the process has stalled amid opposition from some member states, lack of reform in Turkey and a trade row over the divided island of Cyprus. Several chapters remain frozen due to Turkey's refusal to open its ports to Cyprus, an EU member which Ankara does not recognize owing to the island's division between its Greek and Turkish communities.

Beyond this, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel have expressed opposition to Turkey's bid, AFP reported.

Earlier this week Turkish President Abdullah Gul told Le Monde paper that Turkey's accession to the EU is no longer of great importance for Ankara. "It's clear that obstacles have been placed in front of us, but the world does not stop at the European Union," Reuters quoted Gul as saying.

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