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LOCAL > Archeologists issue warning on destruction of Istanbul’s Yedikule Gardens

ISTANBUL - Radikal

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Earthmovers have been digging one meter deep next to the Byzantine-era walls in the Yedikule Gardens and destroying parts of the walls since July 6.  DHA Photo

Earthmovers have been digging one meter deep next to the Byzantine-era walls in the Yedikule Gardens and destroying parts of the walls since July 6. DHA Photo

The Istanbul branch of the Association of Archaeologists has warned that excavations within the historical Yedikule gardens are destroying the remains of Istanbul’s old town.

Earthmovers have been digging one meter deep next to the Byzantine-era walls in the Yedikule Gardens and destroying parts of the walls since July 6 as part of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s project to construct a park with a decorative pool, a statement by the association read.

The gardens, which are a UNESCO-protected site, lie along the old city walls and across the way from the Sea of Marmara and a different park of pathways that hugs the shoreline.

The Istanbul branch of the Association of Archaeologists handed in a report to Istanbul’s 2nd Protection Board of Renewal Areas and to the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, stating that the archaeological remains at the Yedikule Gardens and the land walls were being destroyed by the excavations.

“This area lies in a protected strip of land walls that are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and is also a part of the historical peninsula, which is protected. The excavations within the historical peninsula should be conducted under the guidance of the museum in accordance with the science of archeology,” read a part of the report.

The association asked the 2nd Protection Board whether the excavations and demolitions were conducted with their knowledge and whether any legal action had been taken against the people in charge of the excavations, but the board has not yet responded even though digging has been continuing along the city walls for the past two days.

A legal statement from the board is pending as the panel needs to provide approval for archaeologists from the Istanbul Archeology Museums to make inspections in the area.

A group of environmentalists and historians protested the construction of a park in place of the vegetable plots of the Yedikule Gardens on July 8. Supporters of the park project came to the gardens, resulting in minor tension between proponents and opponents of the redevelopment project.

July/19/2013

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