Estonian President gives his backing to Turkey’s EU bid
Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (L) backs Turkey’s bid to become a EU member, saying the country is a part of the Euro-Atlantic cooperation. Ilves says there is no reason of a closer integration between Turkey and EU. AFP PhotoEstonia sees no reason why Turkey should not proceed toward closer integration with the European Union, the president of the country has said.
In an exclusive interview with the Turkish Policy Quarterly magazine, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said a country’s culture, history, or religion should not determine what kind of political civilization the country chooses to belong to, in reference to Turkey’s EU membership bid.
“I am not one of those who believe your culture, history, or religion determines what kind of political civilization you choose to belong to. The essential argument is similar, whether it comes from the racists who say, ‘They are not capable of democracy, because they have a different culture; they belong to a different civilization,’ or from the authoritarians who say, ‘We cannot accept your democracy, because our culture, our civilization is different.’ It is the same argument posed from different sides,” Ilves told the magazine’s winter edition.
“Turkey is already a part of the Euro-Atlantic cooperation and, as I said, I see no reason why it should not go on toward closer integration with the European Union. … Full membership may take a longer time than we expected at a certain moment. The international economic crisis, Turkey’s internal conflicts last year, as well as some kind of ‘enlargement fatigue’ on both sides may slow the process further. But I would not say full membership is impossible, if membership is what Turkey really wants,” the president said.