Lithuanians speak out against Turkey in EU

  • 2005-07-29
  • By The Baltic Times
VILNIUS 's A small crowd of Lithuanians gathered outside Parliament on Wednesday to speak out against Turkey's possible membership in the European Union. Participants, many of whom are supporters of Voice of Europe, a nascent NGO formed to unite efforts against Turkey's membership, are calling on Brussels not to open talks with Ankara.

Vilius Alisauskas, coordinator of Voice for Europe in Lithuania, told the Baltic News Service that the current wave of protest against Turkey's membership, launched in Budapest in mid-July, will visit several largest European cities in two weeks.

Participants in the action will seek to draw the attention of the public, politicians and media representatives to problems that Turkey's full-fledged membership in the EU would cause.

Alisauskas said that participants in the Vilnius demonstration maintain the position that Turkey is "alien" for Europe because of the political system, religion, the human rights situation and the geographical situation.

"Turkey is not a democratic country. It has serious problems with its neighbors and ethnic minorities, does not promote human rights and freedoms, does not preserve the European culture and values, furthermore, from the geographical point of view, Turkey is not in Europe," he said.

"Turkey has nothing in common with Europe. Algeria is not far as well, so let's maybe admit it as well," he added.

In his words, participants believe that the EU can cooperate with Turkey without granting the latter full membership.

During the international initiative Voice for Europe, European people will be urged to sign a petition against Turkey's membership in the EU.

International initiative Voice for Europe actions are organized in July in Slovakia, France, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany.

Turkey, which has a population of 70 million, mostly Muslims, has been seeking EU membership since 1963. If Turkey joined the EU, it would be the largest EU member in terms of its area and population.

EU accession negotiations with Turkey will start on Oct. 3.