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Parliamentary questions
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22 December 2008
by Heide Rühle (Verts/ALE) and Cem Özdemir (Verts/ALE)
to the Commission

 Subject: The monastery of Mor Gabriel
 Answer in writing 

The spiritual centre of Syriac Orthodox Christianity, the monastery of Mor Gabriel in Turkey (Mardin, Midyat), stands accused of having laid an unlawful claim to land. The three village heads of the neighbouring villages of Güngören, Eglence and Yayvan claim that their village boundaries have been violated and 100 hectares of land occupied by the monastery. The circa 1 600-year-old monastery of Mor Gabriel is an important religious and cultural centre for the region and makes a major contribution to interfaith and intercultural dialogue in Turkey. According to Kurayakos Ergün, President of the Mor Gabriel Foundation, the monastery walls were built 20 years ago to protect the surrounding trees and meadows from destruction.

1. Is the Commission aware of this situation?

2. What does the Commission intend to do in this situation to help the local population and the members of the monastery to co-exist peacefully?

3. Does the Commission know of examples of comparable problems being reported by the surrounding Christian villages whose land has been claimed by local notabilities?

Original language of question: DEOJ C 316, 23/12/2009
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