Diyarbakır Chamber of Architects calls on UNESCO to urgently begin reparations for world heritage site Sur
AFP photoThe Chamber of Architects in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on March 1 called on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to urgently start reparations for the district of Sur.
The chamber released an open letter criticizing UNESCO’s silence over the destruction of Sur, which was left in ruins after fierce clashes between Turkish security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“This letter is an outcry against the silence shown by people like you” the letter said.
The chamber noted that Sur was listed as a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO, saying that the construction plans of the Turkish Environment and Urbanization Ministry would actually damage the historic district and its Hevsel gardens.
“We urge the 195 member states, which are signatories to the international document, to be disturbed of breaking the promise that they have given to the people. Silence will be marked on the pages of history. Remaining silent and negligent toward our province conveys deep contradiction by the UNESCO,” it said.
The chamber claimed that Sur risked being removed from the UNESCO list.
“If you want to compensate for your silence on our city, Diyarbakır, you should consider building efforts against the destruction that has happened until now and start the reparations immediately,” it said.
The Turkish government had announced that they invested 2 billion Turkish Liras ($675 million) to rebuild Sur.
In a written statement on Sept. 9, 2016, the Environment and Urbanization Ministry said the extent of the damage was surveyed in Sur after security forces cleared PKK militants from the district.
“With 2 billion liras budgeted, the district will be almost rebuilt. Thousands of houses will be constructed, potable water pipelines and sewer lines will be repaired,” the ministry said.
Over 10 historic buildings, including the Kurşunlu Mosque, would also be restored, the statement added.