22 March 2012
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Marietje Schaake (ALDE)
Subject: Price-tagging of artefacts in Turkey
Turkey has reportedly(1) taken measures that will allow cultural artefacts to be sold in the future if they are not being used by museums. The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism has defended the new law as an attempt to improve the management of ancient artefacts, but opponents fear that, under the new law, the financial value of artefacts will take precedence over their historical value.
1. As a candidate for membership of the EU, Turkey is expected to promote and protect Europe’s cultural heritage. Is the Commission aware of the measures that have been taken? Does the Commission agree that this change to the law is unfortunate, particularly in the context of the growing scourge of art thefts from Turkish mosques and museums(2)?
2. According to the Commission’s answer to Written Question E‑010719/2011(3), the EU programme for Turkey includes financial assistance (to the tune of EUR 10 million) to address the issue of the sustainable management of cultural heritage. Is part of this support aimed at curbing the trade in ancient artefacts? If not, why not? Are the measures taken by the Turkish Government in line with the aid programme and with the EU’s values and acquis communautaire?
3. What kind of follow-up action will the Commission take to improve the protection of cultural heritage and artefacts in Turkey? What recommendations will the Commission make to Turkey?