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ARCHAEOLOGY > Turkish minister criticizes archaeology excavations

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Tourism and Culture Minister Ömer Çelik. AA photo

Tourism and Culture Minister Ömer Çelik. AA photo

Some of the archaeologists currently working at excavation sites around Turkey are not taking their job seriously enough, Tourism and Culture Minister Ömer Çelik has said, according to daily Hürriyet.

Çelik made the comments in an interview with Der Spiegel Magazine at the Berlin International Tourism Bourse, a well-known travel trade fair.

German archeologists have been overseeing excavations at Göbekli Tepe, he said, adding that a total of 11,000 sculptures went missing from the site in 2010. “I am not accusing them of stealing, however, this is evidence that they are not giving sufficient importance to security issues.”

Noting that the archaeologists were also responsible for the security of the excavation site, Çelik said, “Germany will have to pay an insurance fine for the stolen sculptures.”

Çelik also criticized the work and the reactions of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and of its director, Herman Parzinger. Turkey has been criticized by Parzinger and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation on the grounds of its allegedly aggressive campaign to reclaim cultural antiquities for the nation.

Çelik said Parzinger had accused Turkey of being chauvinist. “I expect to hear an apology from Mr. Parzinger, for he has said Turkey is chauvinist. I do know what this means but I am against the use of this wording.”

Çelik also said Turkey was demanding the return of five historical artifacts which are currently in Berlin. These include the coffin of Hacı İbrahim Veli’s tomb, the Balıkçı Sculpture (Fisherman sculpture), the mihrab (prayer niche) of Konya’s Beyhekim Mosque, and İznik tiles stolen from the Piyale Mosque.

March/11/2013

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Ali Coskun

3/15/2013 3:10:01 AM

How about if we just stop allowing other nations archeologists access to the country?!? Turks can do the excavating themselves. Some get destroyed along the way, then no one can be blamed for it...or know about it!

andrea dealmagro

3/14/2013 3:47:54 PM

The number of ancient marbles exposed to the elements in Istanbul is astonishing, including on the grounds of the Museum of Archaeology. Perhaps Turkey has more relics and historic artifacts that it can properly handle. Same goes for fixed structures and buildings; more than she can maintain and restore. Isn't it a good idea to share that wealth rather than letting it break down under the sun and the rain?

mara mcglothin

3/13/2013 4:19:08 PM

And then there are the artifacts that were destroyed under the sea while building the tunnel under the Bosporus? Wasn't it the PM who said that Turkey had plenty of artifacts???

parwez ahmed

3/11/2013 10:47:48 PM

The minister is right.The archaeologists are corrupt.They will stop making money until govt.put them on trial.And govt.should look seriously in to this matter,not only blaming.

Mark Mark

3/11/2013 6:27:10 PM

At least the Germans will admire, respect and care for these artifacts,left in Turkish hands they will be left to ruin, just look at Ephesus, its crumbling, tourists wandering over every part, The authroities trunign a blind eye.

Cem Arda

3/11/2013 4:26:37 PM

Again germany again stolen artifacts. When will this end? When will they stop considering countries they are let in for work as a place to abuse/suck/leech? Can't some guys have a better way rather then steal?
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