Turkey’s EU membership would ease today’s cultural clash in Europe: PM

Turkey’s EU membership would ease today’s cultural clash in Europe: PM

ISTANBUL – Agence France-Presse
Turkey’s EU membership would ease today’s cultural clash in Europe: PM

AA Photo

The Turkish prime minister says Turkey’s EU membership would ease the inter-cultural tensions currently threatening Europe, adding he expects the same reaction shown for the Paris terrorist attacks to be shown against Islamophobic attacks.

“If Turkey’s European Union integration had not been impeded and if it had been integrated to the union rapidly after the 2004 Cyprus referendum, these cultural tensions would surely not be at this level,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said in Paris on Jan. 11 after attending the rally in support of France following the massacre at satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

“Unfortunately, these days it has become a trend to score political points over these contrasts. The core of the problem lies here; populist behaviors and reactions sparked by actions provoking countercultures show that we are facing a picture like this,” he told reporters at the Turkish embassy in Paris in televised comments.

Davutoğlu joined dozens of other world leaders at the march in Paris to mourn the victims of the three days of terror perpetrated by Islamists that began with the slaughter of 12 people at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

‘Turkish presence assurance to Muslims in Europe’

The Prime Minister said his presence in the march was aimed at sending a message to all Europeans against potential attacks that may target Muslims by “exploiting” the Paris attacks. “Europe has been a multi-cultural and multi-religious continent for decades. Islam has been the most fundamental fraction of Europe, from Andalucía to the Ottomans. The ones that want to incite tension over the Islam-Christianity clash are betraying European culture,” he said.

Davutoğlu also asserted his attendance in the rally served as a show of solidarity against terrorism, but also as “an assurance for the Muslims in Europe.”

“By being here, we also want a determined, cooperative conscience to emerge in Europe. It is our right more than ever to expect the same sensitivity from Europe against Islamophobic attacks or assaults on mosques,” he said.

Davutoğlu also urged everyone to confront the threat of terror, which he dubbed as “big.” 

“The assailants of these attacks weren’t raised in an Arab or Muslim country; these are youth born and raised in Paris. Therefore, it is important for all of us to prevent these terrorists from being dragged into this environment. This requires a comprehensive confrontation,” he said.

Within this respect, he praised a comment by French President François Hollande that “these fanatics have nothing to do with the Muslim religion” as being of the “utmost importance.”

Dubbing Turkey’s foreign policy stance as “principled,” Davutoğlu also vowed to raise a voice against all kinds of terror, including “state terror on Palestinian, Syrian or other countries’ people.”