Reference to God in EU constitution unlikley
The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he does not expect a future constitution for the European Union to mention the Christianity.
But Erdogan also said that recent proposals to mention the Christian roots of the European Union in a future constitution were not a worry for Turkey's ambition to join the bloc, as some had suggested.
"I think that there won't be any reference to Christian roots in the future European Union constitution," Erdogan said.
"There might be proposals by some countries to do this, but it won't be accepted because this would go against all the principles of the foundation of the European Union."
"The European Union is not a Christian or geographic union, it is a union based on political criteria," Erdogan said on the last day of his two-day visit to Portugal.
"The European Union is not the place for a clash of civilizations. On the contrary it eases the union between civilizations, so that they can all live together," he went on.
Erdogan was speaking after a meeting with his Portuguese counterpart Jose Manuel Durao Barroso.
Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party has roots in Turkey's pro-Islamic movement, but says it is not pursuing an Islamic agenda. Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country, but its constitution is staunchly secular.
At a recent meeting to discuss the EU's draft constitution, Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller said he wanted a mention of God and Christianity in the charter. Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain supported that reference.
Pope John Paul II has also recently entered the debate over the European Union's constitution, saying it should include a recognition of Europe's Christian heritage when it is signed next year.