Vatican not against Turkey joining the EU

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.