Turkey Watch

Watching the Turkish nail being put into Europian coffin.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Turkey cornered by EP over protection of religious heritage

From The New Anatolian

A written declaration claiming that most churches and monasteries in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have been looted or used for other purposes won a majority of votes in the European Parliament.

The declaration, prepared by Greek Cypriot Member of the European Parliament Panayiotis Demetriou and Italian MEP Illes Braghetto, who aimed to make the religious heritage issue an obstacle to Turkey's European Union membership bid, collected 403 of a possible 732 MEP signatures.

EP analysts stated that the issue could be added to the agenda of the European Commission and the European Council as it won a great majority.

The declaration says, "Among more than 133 churches, chapels and monasteries located in the northern part of Cyprus … 78 churches have been converted into mosques, 28 are used as military depots and hospitals and 13 are used as stockyards. Their religious items, including more than 15,000 icons, have been illegally removed and their location remains unknown."

It condemns the pillage of Greek Orthodox churches and monasteries and the removal of their religious items, and calls for the Commission and the Council to take the necessary action to ensure respect for the European Community Treaty and the protection and restoration of the affected Greek Orthodox churches.

A call for the Commission and the Council to examine the matter under the relevant chapters of negotiations with Turkey is also made in the declaration.

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