By Handan Kazanci
Turkey’s prospective accession to the European Union will benefit the Muslim world, said a senior official from Turkey’s Ministry of EU Affairs on Saturday.
“Turkey will be a bridge between the West and the Muslim world because Turkey has proved that it is a democracy, it has a constitution based on secularism and on the other hand it is a Muslim majority country,” said Burak Erdenir, the deputy permanent delegate of Turkey’s delegation to the EU.
“Turkey’s membership to the EU will be an antidote to Islamophobia,” Erdenir added.
His remarks came at a three-day conference, hosted by the Center for Islam and Global Affairs at Istanbul’s Sabahattin Zaim University, with the theme “Contextualizing Islamophobia: Its Impact on Culture and Global Politics.”
Erdenir recalled the announcement of the launch of Turkey’s accession talks in 2004. “There were more than 100 journalists from Muslim countries for the coverage of the news because it is a big issue for the Muslim countries.”
Turkey applied for membership in the European Economic Community (a precursor to the EU) in 1987. It became eligible for EU membership in 1997 and accession talks began in 2005.
Erdenir noted that migration has become a dominant issue in the western European societies.
“The role of Turkey is important in that sense,” Erdenir said. “At the end of the day, Turkey would also be a facilitator in understanding the issues of the migrants and it would contribute to European policy-making process in implementing and solving their issue.”
Featuring scholars from Turkey and abroad, the conference focuses on Islamophobia in culture, society, politics, and international relations.
The conference is intended to spur a discussion of “strategies and policies that need to be adopted and pursued to end or reduce the harmful and detrimental effects of Islamophobia,” according to the university’s website.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.