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Parliamentary questions
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10 May 2019
P-001494/2019(ASW)
Joint answer given by Vice-President Mogherini on behalf of the European Commission
Written questions: P-001494/19 , E-001536/19 , E-001511/19 , E-001527/19
Question references: P-001494/2019, E-001511/2019, E-001527/2019, E-001536/2019

The Commission follows closely the developments related to Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and reports on them systematically, most recently in the 2018 Turkey report(1), where it has been stressed that the controversial use for marking religious celebrations of the Hagia Sophia, which is a museum situated within a listed world heritage site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, continued to trigger reactions. The Commission will continue reporting on developments in this regard.

The EU is committed to developing a culture of inclusive tolerance both in the EU and in the candidate countries for EU accession. History has repeatedly shown that insensitivity to matters of religion and culture has the potential to disturb security and stability. In this context, the EU encourages and supports inter-religious dialogue aimed at increasing mutual understanding and respect.

The Commission regularly stresses that Turkey needs to ensure the respect of fundamental rights in law and in practice, including freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

The EU is committed to continue raising the issue with Turkey and to monitoring closely Turkey's efforts in this area and will reflect this in the 2019 Annual Report on Turkey.

(1)https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/20180417-turkey-report.pdf

Last updated: 13 May 2019Legal notice