NEWS

Church turns to Turkey-bashing

Turkey has nothing to contribute to European civilization and should not be allowed to enter the European Union, the head of the Church of Greece said yesterday, in a veiled reference to recent statements to the contrary by Prime Minister Costas Simitis. «The truth is that [Turkey] must not become a member of the European Union for it has nothing to contribute to European civilization, as it has contributed nothing so far,» Archbishop Christodoulos told an Athens congregation. Turkey, he argued, is seeking a way into the EU «no longer by force of arms but through the size of its population and by merit of the markets some people are eyeing covetously in order to increase their profits.» In a clear allusion to Simitis’s contention, in a January 8 interview with France’s Le Monde newspaper, that Turkey «has been a great European power since the 16th century,» Christodoulos said: «Many say that Turkey has had a strong presence in Europe since the 16th century. But… this presence was steeped in blood, barbarity and pillage.»