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Parliamentary questions
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7 September 2009
by Athanasios Plevris (EFD)
to the Commission

 Subject: Assaults on the Christian faith in Turkey
 Answer in writing 

Turkey frequently violates the religious rights of its Christian citizens and desecrates Greek and Christian monuments. On 15 August 2009, the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, the great Orthodox feast day, a delegation of European Orthodox faithful, including the Prefect of Thessaloniki, Mr Psomiadis, and Russian Duma member Ivan Savvidis. visited the monastery of the Panagia (Virgin) of Soumela in Trabzon; this monastery is now used as a museum, despite being an Orthodox church, and Pontic Greeks venerate the Panagia of Soumela as their protectress. The Turkish authorities obliged the Orthodox priests to remove their holy vestments as soon as they arrived at the airport and, despite the sterling efforts of the Prefect of Thessaloniki and other members of the Faith, the official responsible for the Church, backed by a strong police presence, banned the faithful from worshipping and lighting candles to express a wish. This is an example of Turkey's traditional brutal treatment of Christianity.

In view of the above, will the Commission say:

Does it intend to take measures aimed at putting pressure upon the Turkish government to respect the rights of Christians and to reopen Orthodox churches in Turkey, such as the Panagia of Soumela in Trabzon?

Original language of question: ELOJ C 10 E, 14/01/2011
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