The Vatican is not against mostly Muslim Turkey joining the European Union, the state-run Anatolia news agency quoted the Vatican spokesman as saying Sunday.
The comment by the spokesman, Frederico Lombardi, came in advance of a four-day visit to Turkey by Pope Benedict XVI beginning Tuesday - his first papal trip to the Muslim world.
"If Turkey fulfills its obligations and meets the requirements of the EU criteria, why shouldn't it become a full member of the EU?" Anatolia quoted Lombardi as saying during an interview in Rome.
"The issue of Turkish membership in the EU is a political one," he reportedly said. "We must note that the Vatican is not a member of the EU."