Paris hosts conference on Göbeklitepe archeological site
(L to R) İlber Ortaylı, Irina Bokova and Demet Sabancı Çetindoğan are at the UNESCO conference in Paris on the Neolithic site of Göbeklitepe.Leading cultural, historical and business figures came together on Jan. 21 at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris for a conference on Göbeklitepe, during which participants reiterated their commitment to improving the Neolithic site.
Demet Sabancı Çetindoğan, the founder and president of the Turkey-One Association, which organized the conference; Culture and Tourism Ministry Undersecretary Haluk Dursun; Permanent Delegate of Turkey to UNESCO Hüseyin Avni Botsalı and Turkish historian Professor İlber Ortaylı, as well as the permanent representatives and diplomats of other UNESCO member countries, all attended the conference, titled “The Birth of Religion and Rise of Civilization: Göbeklitepe Neolithic Site.”
During the conference’s opening, UNESCO General Director Irina Bokova noted that her recent visit to Turkey highlighted Turkey’s active and leading role in the organization.
Çetindoğan said the Turkish private sector would also invest in the preservation and promotion of the country’s cultural heritage and contribute to Turkey’s reputation abroad. She said the Göbeklitepe Neolithic site would be the first one as part of new expansions in the field of culture.
Dursun said excavations would continue in Göbeklitepe and that the findings there were important enough to change some understandings of archaeology.
Ortaylı said Anatolia was the world’s largest open-air museum and had played a significant role in all eras, starting from the ancient ages to the Roman Empire, Hellenistic civilizations, the Seljuks and the Ottoman Empire.
The conference also commemorated German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt, who dedicated 25 years of his life to the Göbeklitepe excavations in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa before dying last year. His wife, Çiğdem Schmidt, was presented an award on his behalf.
After the screening of documentary films on Göbeklitepe, a reception was also held. German Culture Minister Maria Böhmer, who will head the World Heritage Committee this year between June 28 and July 8 in Bonn, met with Çetindoğan on conducting cooperation for cultural heritage.