January 10, 2011 - 17:25 AMT
Yves Leterme: Turkey must fulfill many requirements to become EU full member

Turkey must fulfill many requirements to become a full member of the European Union, Belgian Prime Minister has stated.

However, Yves Leterme pointed out Turkey should only become an EU member if it sincerely has the will to make such a move when the time comes.

“I say ‘yes,' if Turkey's intention is clearly membership,” Leterme told Today's Zaman.

“However, this [intention] should be heartfelt. For example, normalizing relations with Cyprus should also be heartfelt,” Leterme added.

Turkey, which formally began accession negotiations with the EU in 2005, has so far opened talks on only 13 chapters.

“It is true that there are not many chapters left to be opened due to the problem with Cyprus, and it is true that it is getting more and more difficult. But efforts are continuing, and this is the important point. Some people in Turkey are asking whether Turkey’s future is in the EU or not; however, this is a question for Turkey itself. Europe has accepted Turkey’s candidacy, and the process is going on,” he said.

According to the Belgian Prime Minister, approaches imposing a certain lifestyle on the growing Muslim population in Europe will not be helpful for achieving harmony in society.