The President of PASOK and the Movement for Change, Nikos Androulakis, and the Vice President of the European Parliament, Eva Kaili, asked the European Commission to discuss the desecration of the Monastery of Panagia Soumela by Turkish authorities.
It was noted that this move comes as a continuation of a series of provocative actions, such as the conversion of Hagia Sophia and the Monastery of Chora into mosques, two World Heritage sites protected by UNESCO.
This is in addition to the conversion of Hagia Sophia in Trapezounta (Τραπεζούντα, Turkish: Trabzon) into a mosque.
When asked, they noted that respect for the cultural heritage of the monuments in its territory is a precondition for accession negotiations with the EU and called on the Commission to take the necessary steps.
The following is the text of the question:
“One of the most historic monuments of Pontian Hellenism, the Monastery of Panagia Soumela, a candidate for inclusion in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, was desecrated by the Turkish authorities.
“They gave permission to turn it into a ‘club’ with a DJ playing electronic music.
“Turkish authorities gave permission, as they claimed, for a tourist promotion of the monument, completely disregarding the religious sentiment of millions of Orthodox Christians for whom Panagia Soumela has been the cradle of their faith for over 16 centuries.
“At the same time, the Minister of Culture stated that 77 relics of the Monastery of Panagia Soumela have been identified inside and outside of Turkey, for which procedures have been initiated for their claim and return to Turkey.
“Does it intend to make a recommendation/protest to the Turkish authorities for the desecration of the monument?
“Following the provocative transformation of Hagia Sophia in Trapezounta as well as Hagia Sophia and the Monastery of Chora in Istanbul into a mosque, how does it intend to emphasise in Turkey that respect for the cultural heritage of the monuments in its territory is a basic condition for the continuation of accession negotiations with the EU?
“Does it intend to intervene with the Turkish authorities in order to relocate the relics kept in the warehouses of the Ankara and Hagia Sophia museums in the area of the monastery which now functions as a museum?”