The Vatican is not against mostly Muslim Turkey joining the European Union, the Vatican spokesman said Sunday.
The comment by the spokesman, Federico 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?" Lombardi said in an interview in Rome with Turkey's state-owned Anatolia news agency.
"The issue of Turkish membership in the EU is a political one," he was quoted as saying. "We must note that the Vatican is not a member of the EU."
Lombardi later confirmed those comments in a telephone call with The Associated Press.