Slovenian president backs Turkish EU bid

Slovenian President Danilo Türk has appealed to European Union (EU) leaders to speed up accession talks with Turkey.The former United Nations (UN) assistant secretary-general said today (Weds): “I’m totally in favour of Turkey becoming a member of the EU. The negotiations have been going on way too slowly.”Türk told Austrian daily Kurier that prejudices towards Turkey must not block the process.Human rights campaigners have criticised the living conditions of ethnic minorities like Kurds in Turkey, while right-wing politicians across the continent have claimed Turkey was lacking any “Western values”. Some also warned of a “growing ‘Islamisation’” of Western Europe as more people from Turkey may relocate within the EU if the country joins the union.Studies have however shown that the number of people returning to their homeland after having come to Germany and Austria has been higher for some years than the amount of people leaving their native Turkey to settle in these countries.Asked whether there were any signs of Islamophobia in his country, the Slovenian president said: “The Bosnian minority in Slovenia is well integrated, but there are discussions on the issue as they exist everywhere.”Türk claimed those who were integrated into the society would never be at risk of being “pushed into ghettos”.Asked whether he saw the risk the EU could collapse because of the financial straits some of its member states like Greece and Ireland have been in, Türk – who took office three years ago – told the Kurier: “The EU hasn’t got a big project, but a big problem: it is confronted with the global crisis. Its future depends on the outcome of the current search for a permanent ‘anti-crisis mechanism’.”The federal president of Slovenia, which borders Austria and became a member of the EU in 2004, also called on EU leaders to strengthen their ties with Russia.”A more precise and vigorous Eastern partnership should become the EU’s top priority. That’s what the EU’s foreign policy should orientate itself by,” he said.