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2. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/65

(98/C 304/91) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0264/98
by Yiannis Roubatis (PSE) to the Commission
(13 February 1998)

Subject: The systematic and provocative policy of increasing tension pursued by the Turkish Government

The policy of systematically increasing tension pursued by the Turkish Government in relation to Greece is
jeopardizing the peace in a vital part of the European Union. For the second time over the last few months
Turkish planes have attempted to buzz a plane carrying the Greek Foreign Minister. Within Turkey this policy by
Ankara is encouraging extremist criminal elements which two days ago burned down an Orthodox church in
Istanbul and murdered the sacristan.

Does the Commission intend:
1. to make it clear to the relevant Turkish authorities that this behaviour sets an even greater distance between
Turkey and the European Union and makes it impossible to include it among the countries which will be
attending the European Conference?
2. to take measures to protect Orthodox churches in Turkey and the rights of citizens to freedom of expression
in religious matters?

Answer given by Mr Van den Broek on behalf of the Commission
(10 March 1998)

In its contacts with the Turkish authorities the Commission underscores the importance of improving relations
between Greece and Turkey as part of ongoing relations between the Community and Turkey. It subscribes fully
to the conclusions of the Luxembourg European Council of December 1997 according to which strengthened
links between Turkey and the Community hinge on respect for and protection of minorities and on the
establishment of satisfactory and stable relations between Greece and Turkey. Despite Ankara’s recent decision
to suspend political dialogue with the Community, the Commission will continue to intimate the Community’s
concerns to its Turkish opposite numbers.

The Commission deplores the serious incident affecting the Greek orthodox church of St Therapontos in Istanbul
in January. An investigation has been started by the Turkish authorities. It would appear that a criminal act took
place involving the theft of valuable objects.

As regards the attack in December 1997 on the orthodox patriarch of Istanbul and the security measures taken as
a result, the Honourable Member should refer to the Commission’s answer to written question E-4004/97 by
Mr Kaklamanis (1).

(1) OJ C 197, 22.6.1998, p. 53.

(98/C 304/92) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0265/98
by Yiannis Roubatis (PSE) to the Council
(17 February 1998)

Subject: The Tudjman regime’s tactics in Croatia

According to a report in the International Herald Tribune, the Tudjman regime in Croatia is prosecting the
Croatian Helsinki Committee and the independent newspaper Feral Tribune, and it is seeking to impose controls
on and abolish Croatian and foreign institutions which do not meet with its approval, subsidiaries of foreign
undertakings, humanitarian and other non-governmental organizations which are struggling for the indepen-
dence of the mass media, democracy and human rights in Croatia.

The reason given by the Tudjman regime for this prosecution is that all the organisations are introducing a
dangerous new ideology into Croatia.