Written Question: Illegal trafficking and sale of cultural goods
(Source: European Parliament)
Date submitted: 26 February 2021
Question for written answer E-001158/2021
to the Commission
Costas Mavrides (S&D)
Subject: Illegal trafficking and sale of cultural goods
According to an article published in the Phileleftheros newspaper on 25 February 2021, the online auction page ‘eBay’ is advertising the sale of a piece of marble floor allegedly from the High School of Ancient Salamis in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus. The article includes a photograph of Ancient Salamis and the related piece of floor.
Although the facts of this case have not yet been established, the looting of cultural heritage affects both the countries of origin and the countries of transit and final destination of these stolen works, and constitutes an international crime. At the same time, the illegal trade in cultural goods has been recognised as an important source of terrorist financing and a tool for money laundering that requires cross-border cooperation.
Cyprus has been a victim of organised cultural looting and trafficking in cultural goods since the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the subsequent occupation.
In the light of the above:
- Are any specific actions planned to effectively tackle the illegal trafficking of cultural goods, in particular where organised crime is involved?
- Given that cross-border cooperation is required to protect the cultural heritage, how is the Turkish authorities’ refusal to cooperate with its counterparts in the Republic of Cyprus on this issue being addressed?
- Are any measures in place to put an end to the illegal activities involving archaeological sites by the occupying regime in the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus?