Archaeologists win case against Turkish Culture Ministry
Ömer Erbil ISTANBUL
The archaeologists, who unearthed thousands of artifacts during the Yenikapı excavations, were registered as working for the excavation company but not the ministry, which was against the law.Archaeologists who worked during the construction of the Yenikapı metro station have won a case they opened against the Culture Ministry.
The archaeologists, who unearthed thousands of artifacts during the Yenikapı excavations, were registered as working for the excavation company but not the ministry, which was against the law.
Archaeological workers, employed at the Yenikapı dig for years in the name of the Culture and Tourism Ministry but registered as working for an excavation company, won the case they filed against the ministry. The Istanbul 17th Labor Court has ruled that the archaeologists were the employees of the ministry, and if the Supreme Court approves the decision then the Culture and Tourism Ministry will have to formally employ the archaeologists.
Thousands of historical artifacts were unearthed during the construction of the Yenikapı station of Istanbul’s Marmaray Metro, pushing Istanbul’s history back some 8,500 years. Detailed information about the city’s first inhabitants was discovered thanks to the excavations, and some 40 sunken ships were also unearthed.
Against Law no: 2863
According to Law no: 2863, archaeological excavations are conducted by museum officials and any unearthed artifacts are formally transported to museums by these officials. The Yenikapı archaeologists, who were registered as working for an excavation company, unearthed the artifacts, protected them and transported them to the museum. Their labor contracts were terminated by the museum but their wages and Social Security Institution (SGK) were paid by the Özşahinler excavation company, meaning that they were registered as workers of this company.
The archaeologists, who said they did not even know the location of the company or any of its officials, filed a case in the Labor Court to demand registration as ministry personnel.
The court ruled in their favor, saying they were employees of the Culture and Tourism Ministry. “The work carried out by the complainants is archaeological work. The work should be inspected by the ministry and cannot be transferred to private employers,” it stated in its reasoned justification.
If the Supreme Court approves the decision, the Culture and Tourism Ministry will have to employ the 34 archaeologists, restorers and art historians who worked on the Yenikapı excavations.