In a display of religious tolerance and harmony, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has inaugurated an inter-faith garden of worship in southern Turkey, made up of a mosque, a synagogue and a church.
This coincides with rising criticism of the candidate for EU membership; A letter from France’s Roman Catholic bishops complains Ankara violates religious freedoms and urges President Jacques Chirac to make the issue a precondition for starting talks on Turkish EU entry. Next week EU leaders will decide under which conditions the negotiations might begin. Many in Europe are wary of admitting Turkey, a mostly Muslim country of 70 million people, into the bloc. With rancour growing among the Turks about European cold feet, one Turkish diplomat in Brussels said: “Embracing Turkey is a test of European political will, of its ability to think big”.