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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.
C 304/66 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10. 98

Will the Council say:
1. Is it aware of these tactics by the Tudjman regime?
2. Does it intend to finance and to support by every means the institutions in Croatia which are being
prosecuted?
3. Does it intend to call on the Croatian President to cease prosecuting bodies which are supporting the
independence of the mass media, human rights and democracy in Croatia?

Answer
(8 June 1998)

The Council is closely following events in Croatia and is concerned about the fact that democratic rules are still
not being observed in many areas, including freedom of the media.

The Union is already providing assistance to promote democracy and the development of independent media,
including the ‘Feral Tribune’ newspaper.

The Union’s relations with Croatia are governed by the ‘regional approach’ adopted in February 1996 and by the
general conditions set out in the Council’s conclusions of 29 April 1997. These conditions include respect for
democratic principles and the rule of law. The Council will continue to take every opportunity to express its
concern that Croatia should act in accordance with recognized international standards. At the meeting which it
held in London in March 1998 the Ministerial Troika of the European Union explained in detail to the Minister
for Foreign Affairs, Mr Granic, what the Union expects of Croatia, in particular with regard to the media. In its
conclusions of 27 April 1998 the General Affairs Council also expressed the concern felt by the European Union
at the situation of the media in Croatia.

(98/C 304/93) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0269/98
by Yiannis Roubatis (PSE) to the Commission
(13 February 1998)

Subject: Destruction of the archaeological site of Vouthrotou

According to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, the archaeological site of Vouthrotou in southern Albania
is one of the most important world heritage sites which is threatened with destruction. In particular, the
archaeological site of Vouthrotou in the Examiliou peninsula, south of Aghia Saranda, is directly threatened
because of pillaging in the region and the museum during the recent disturbances.

Does the Commission intend to support the Albanian State and the archaeological services of the town of
Ioannina (Epirus, Greece) to save the archaeological site of Vouthrotou and other Byzantine monuments and
archaeologic treasures which are under direct threat in southern Albania?

Answer given by Mr Oreja on behalf of the Commission
(6 April 1998)

The Commission would like to refer the Honourable Member to its replies given on the same subject in oral
question H-350/97 by Mr Alexandros Alavanos during question time at Parliament’s May I 1997 part-session (1)
and Written Question E-1439/97 by Mrs Katerina Daskalaki (2).

(1) Debates of the Parliament (May I 1997).
(2) OJ C 21, 22.1.1998.