Proposed Law to Criminalize Adultery Affects Turkey's EU Prospects

October 12, 2004

Source: Los Angeles Times,1,7234561.story?coll=la-home-headlines

On October 12, 2004 the Los Angeles Times reported, "[T]he tug of war between conservative tradition and modern aspiration [in Turkey] has never been more visible than it is now, as the nation of 69 million attempts to become the first Muslim-majority member of the European Union. On Dec. 17, the 25-state bloc is to decide whether to formally open membership negotiations with Turkey, after a conditional green light from the EU's executive body last week... After making steady progress toward bringing its laws and human rights practices into line with European standards, Turkey badly stumbled last month with an attempt to criminalize adultery. Although it was eventually squelched, the proposed law, an effort to mix religion and state, inflicted significant, perhaps irreparable, damage to its bid to join the bloc, said diplomats, officials and analysts in a series of interviews over the last two weeks... With many people uneasy about adding 70 million Muslims to the EU — Turkey would be the largest member state after Germany — the proposed ban gave a boost to those who say Turkey is a culture apart. The Vatican's leading doctrinal theologian, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, announced his opposition to admitting Turkey, saying Europe must maintain its 'cultural' — i.e., Christian — identity."