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Parliamentary questions
6 June 2016
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Elissavet Vozemberg-Vrionidi (PPE)

 Subject:  Undermining the cultural identity of Hagia Sophia

Recently, the Turkish authorities decided to mark Ramadan by broadcasting live from Hagia Sophia in Istanbul — an enduring symbol of Christianity and a world cultural heritage site — a television programme entitled ‘Time of Blessings’ with prayers and readings from the Koran, effectively seeking to impose a Muslim identity on this monument and turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

In 1934, the historic site of Hagia Sophia was reopened as a museum by a Turkish presidential decree, attracting visitors from all over the world.

In view of this:
Can the Commission say whether such practices are in line with Turkey's European aspirations? Will it take account in the progress report for Turkey of what can only be regarded as an act of disrespect to Christians throughout the world?
Will it take action to protect the nature of the Hagia Sophia monument, bearing in mind that Istanbul was designated European Capital of Culture in 2010 and received funding for the enhancement of its cultural wealth?
Original language of question: EL 
Last updated: 22 June 2016Legal notice