A major goal of Turkey is to become a member of the European Union, but there are occasions when Turkish leaders do not recognize membership in that body requires adopting attitudes which run counter to their own. Turkey angered many Europeans by refusing to sign a European Union-led declaration presented to the United Nations which urged nations of the world to take action to ensure gay and lesbian rights. An EU ambassador told the liberal Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet, “it’s very frustrating for Turks who wish to become a member of the EU” to be criticized for failure to support European positions. The declaration condemned “violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmization and prejudice” against people on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identify.
Turkey is arguing is position is similar to that of the Vatican and many Arab nations which are hostile to gay rights. Unfortunately, for Turkey, neither the Vatican nor Arab states will have a voice in determining European Union membership. At this point, Turkey is the only nation applying for EU membership that refuses to sign the declaration.