Poland's Walesa: "There's no Europe without Turkey"
Turkey must be admitted to the European Union, Nobel laureate Lech Walesa, the former Polish president and labor leader, said on Wednesday. "There's no Europe without Turkey," Walesa told AFP in an interview. "Turkey should gradually reach Europe's level of development and enter tomorrow." Turkey started its EU membership talks in 2005, but the process has been sluggish, in part due to France and Germany's reluctance to admit the Muslim-majority nation of 75 million. Poland, which is due to take over the EU's rotating presidency in the second half of 2011, backs Turkish entry into the 27-nation bloc. The deeply Catholic Walesa said religious-rooted concerns should not come into play. "Borders and splits have led to conflict, especially on the religious side," he said. "Religion has been exploited." He added, "Religion will return to its proper place. People will understand that in reality, God is the same for all religions but there are too many defenders of the faith."