Church leader calls for referendum on Turkey

20th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

20 December 2004 , BERLIN - Bishop Wolfgang Huber, chairman of the national council of the Evangelical Church in Germany, has called for a referendum on Turkey's possible membership in the European Union.

20 December 2004

BERLIN - Bishop Wolfgang Huber, chairman of the national council of the Evangelical Church in Germany, has called for a referendum on Turkey's possible membership in the European Union.

"I believe a referendum on that would be the right thing," Huber said on the ARD television show "Sabine Christiansen" on Sunday.

The Evangelical Church is Germany's largest Protestant denomination. Huber is bishop of Berlin-Brandenburg.

A plebiscite must be held "early enough, so that nobody can say, 'Now it's already been decided, so there is no alternative,'" Huber said.

He said that the entry talks with Turkey, agreed last week in Brussels and due to begin next year, must be structured to leave options at the end of the process, which could take up to 15 years. Huber said that the talks should not be "all or nothing".

Turkey, which is 99 percent Muslim, would be the first EU country that is not traditionally Christian.

EU officials have said that the beginning of entry talks does not guarantee that Turkey will eventually join the world's largest free-trade bloc.

DPA

Subject: German news

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