Saturday, December 02, 2006

Why the Pope's visit changes little

The Pope returned to Rome yesterday, winning more praise for a parting shot that he had “left part of his heart in Istanbul”. Actually, the Pope’s visit has almost become a consolation to Turks, who are reeling from the European Commission’s decision to recommend the partial suspension of EU entry talks with Turkey over its failure to give ground on Cyprus. The EU Commission’s decision to slow negotiations over Turkey’s membership talks carries the risk of a serious break in Turkey’s relationship with the West. The media are predictably painting apocalyptic scenarios:

However, it’s worth noting that the main goal on Turkey’s membership to the European Union was still unchanged, Finnish Foreign MinisterErkki Tuomioja said on Friday: “Turkey is still a candidate for membership to the Union. The EU will always welcome Turkey if it fulfills the criteria and Turkish public wants the membership. The Ankara Protocol was a clear commitment, which Turkey did not implement. We are also aware that the EU has not completed some of its jobs in Cyprus.” Asked whether the commission’s recommendations were severe, and whether they had a plan that would be offered to the ministers to change the commission’s decision, he said that while they did not have such a plan at the moment, they did not completely approve the recommendations, and had started meeting with the EU members to achieve a commonly acceptable solution.
And yet, the EU is sending contradictory signals as well. Go HERE and HERE.

Pope Benedict XVI signed a joint declaration with Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I, easing inter-church tensions and requesting more collaboration between Catholic and Orthodox churches. The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly has invited Bartholomew I as a “ecumenical” to address the general assembly on January 22-25 in Strasbourg. Ankara reacted negatively to the invitation of the Council that described Bartholomew I “His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I,” because the Turkish administration does not recognize the “ecumenical” attribution of the Patriarch. Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Namik Tan said the Patriarchate was a Turkish institution and no other attributes are binding for Turkey at a weekly press conference on Thursday. The Pope may have prayed at the Blue Mosque facing Mecca but the position of Christians in Turkey is far from an easy one.

I doubt if the Pope’s visit to Turkey will change much in the long run...
I shall now return to more UK focused blogging.

14 comments:

Colin said...

I agree with your conclusion. In the long run only the determination of the political leaders in the EU and the demographics are likely to change anything. Thanks for the interesting reporting!

vikki said...

Excellent post. So... its now back to... .Emiliphobia. Emily has indeed murdered sleep.....no doubt she (he)is quaking in her boots.....

Colin said...

Emili,

are you Vikki?

Colin said...

With regard to religion and Turkey's EU membership:

Helmut Kohl in 2004 an interview: "I continue to be convinced that Turkey will be unable to fulfill the criteria of Copenhagen. The criteria for membership established by the European Council in 1993 in Copenhagen define among others, that a country willing to become a member must have a strong democratic and constitutional system and must protect human and civil rights. This includes the protection of minorities and the freedom of religion."

Voyager said...

Bet Kohl's Turkish daughter-in-law was very upset with him...........is she married to the son that works at Goldman Sachs, or the other one ?

istanbultory said...

Yes, a return to good, old-fashioned Emilyphobia is imminent...

Anonymous said...

Emilyphobia ?

I thought it was Virgina Woolf peiople were afraid of

Colin said...

"Bet Kohl's Turkish daughter-in-law was very upset with him"

Voyager,

Good point. He might simply try to distract the people from his role in making Turkey a member of the EU.

Interestingly, both, Bush senior and Kohl, appear to have secured the future influence of their families by marriage of one of their family members to the largest ethnic group of migrants.

Since the development of the atomic bombe after WW-II made any war of conquest impossible in Europe, Kohl might have understood that the only way to an European empire left would be the the old principle of the house of Hapsburg: 'Others may wage war. You, oh happy Austria, marry.'

vikki said...

" Emily are you Vikki? "

Bambi.....

Colin said...

Bambi.....

on a trip in Italy trying to eat spaghetti?

vikki said...

I take it you dont know who emily is? Would be interesting to find out though....


I am tempted to believe that was Mr Croydonian eating spaghetti...while on holiday...with Mr Istanbultory....that might explain his absence at Cranmers. I fear we may have lost our dear friend to this prestigious club......

Colin said...

"I take it you dont know who emily is?"

Vikki, you are hurting my feelings. After all she is world-famous for her business instinct.

I am wondering what she has to say about the fact that a British citizen is assuming that anybody in this wide world doesn't know her.

Emily Blair said...

Vikki,

I am not amused!

Istanbultory,

you are constantly hurting my feelings. Could it be that you are envious about Tony's and my success?

Colin,

We can perfectly do without your stupid remarks. Go home, you bore.

vikki said...

I stand corrected sir