Frattini says Turkey’s EU membership is a historic target

October 01, 2010, Friday/ 17:33:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini reiterated his country's position regarding Turkey's full European Union membership on Wednesday, noting that Turkey's membership holds a historic symbolic value.

In an interview with the Dossier Lazio, the Il Giornale newspaper's politics and economy magazine, Frattini said he believes it's not correct to propose a “privileged partnership” for Turkey as an alternative to full EU membership and that he does not agree with the proposal.

The foreign minister said Turkey's EU membership would carry symbolic power in terms of relations between the West and the Islamic world, similar to the fall of the Berlin Wall or the reconciliation of France and Germany.

Frattini said Turkey joining the EU could be interpreted as a symbol for the harmonization of Islam with democracy and human rights and may demonstrate the EU's capacity to embrace different cultures.

“This is a significant historic target which we cannot give up,” Frattini stressed, adding that there is a “long path” ahead before Turkey gets integrated into the EU and that Turkey's current picture is not promising in this regard.

He said Ankara was causing some doubts in some European capitals due to its foreign policy preferences, but didn't give further details.

Frattini noted that Turkey should feel confident that it will reach the finish line if it fulfills its obligations and warned that it would be a grave error to change its path.

The Italian foreign minister said on Sept. 20 that Turkey was at a crossroads and that it would be “stupid to push it toward Iran.” Frattini warned: “Turkey is at a crossroads. It could make its way toward the West. But it could also make its way toward Iran, which will make it a power that is a friend of Iran.”

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