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Parliamentary questions
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27 March 2019
Question for written answer E-001527-19
to the Commission
Rule 130
Nikos Androulakis (S&D)

 Subject:  Conversion of Hagia Sophia to a mosque
 Answer in writing 

In July 2016, when for the first time in 85 years, a muezzin gave the call to prayer from inside Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, basically violating the secular nature of this Unesco World Heritage Site, I asked the Commission in a question for written answer what action it proposed to take to protect World Heritage sites in Turkey.

Unfortunately, three years later, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is repeating his threats to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

However, Turkey, as a candidate for accession to the European Union has an obligation to protect monuments such as Hagia Sophia, which was for many years a centre for Orthodox Christians, and to preserve their special cultural character.

In view of this:
1. Can the Commission say whether these utterances by the President of Turkey are compatible with the status of a candidate country?
2. How can it prevent this threat from being carried out and what action will it take if it is?
3. What measures could the Commission take in cooperation with Unesco to protect World Heritage sites more effectively?
Original language of question: EL 
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