1600-year-old artifacts in Bodrum bay area looted

1600-year-old artifacts in Bodrum bay area looted

MUĞLA – Doğan News Agency
1600-year-old artifacts in Bodrum bay area looted

DHA photo

A nun mosaic in a 1600-year-old historic church at a popular bay area of the Turkish resort town of Bodrum has been looted, sparking angry reaction from environmental advocacy groups amid rumors about tourism investment plans in the bay area.

The looting of historic artifacts around Kisebükü Bay, a popular bay for boat cruises in the Aegean Sea, has drawn criticism from more than 40 environmental rights groups and civil organizations, said Filiz Dizdar, a spokesperson from the Blue Route Initiative, an environmental advocacy group.

The Kisebükü Bay area was an urban site between 200 B.C. and 600 A.D. founded by the Byzantine Emperor Anastasios, while the ruins of a historic port used for trade purposes, watch towers, two churches, two hamams, water tanks and hundreds of years old oil tree are still noticeable, Dizdar said.

“We couldn’t save the 1600-year-old nun [mosaic],” Dizdar added.

“Historic and cultural artifacts are being destroyed one by one. Unfortunately, nobody reacts to this. We’ve prevented opening [the Kisebükü Bay area] to construction by bringing the issue to court. The looting of this natural area with archeological importance should immediately be stopped,” Dizdar said.

Bodrum district mayoral advisor Özay Kartal said historic artifacts in the Kisebükü Bay area were being demolished one after another.

“It is totally intentional. They are providing a ground for natural destruction by looting historic artifacts,” said Kartal, the advisor of Bodrum District Mayor Mehmet Kocadon, who was elected from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the local elections in March.

“Here is a church well-known by captains of cruise boats,” he said. 

“This church is a historic artifact that no one sees unless captains show their guests in and around it,” Kartal said.

“We could not save a nun [mosaic], which has been protected from looting for 1600 years, even for a year,” he added.