Yesterday, the European Union recommended that Turkey begin talks to put the country on the path to membership. Some European countries, especially France, were quick to point out there is no guarantee Turkey will become an EU member, and its future status is conditioned upon several reforms, particularly human-rights issues. For Christians suffering under strict oppression, Turkey's EU entrance may bring full religious freedom to the country, which it has not seen for centuries.
Turkey has already made significant progress. Guenter Verhuegen, the EU's enlargement commissioner told the Associated Press, "Turkey was simply too good (its) progress was too good [to say no]. We can trust Turkey that the country will continue improving the situation.'' Officially secular, Turkey is overwhelmingly Muslim.
"Turkey has undergone remarkable changes over the last few years, putting in place the extensive reforms the EU asked of it. The EU must now deliver its side of the bargain,'' said the British foreign secretary, Jack Straw.
Despite the changes, Christians still suffer in the country, which is home to cities where the apostle Paul addressed some of his epistles. Even today, a bomb explosion "shattered windows at the seat of the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians in Istanbul." The Associated Press writes, "The blast came weeks after police clashed with hundreds of rock-throwing nationalist Turks who staged a protest outside the Patriarchate and burned an effigy of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, whom far-right groups accuse of working against Turkish interests."
Andrea Rombopoulos, a Christian, publishes Iho, one of two Greek-language daily newspapers still printing in Turkey. He is a descendant of ...1