Draft on recovery of UNESCO-protected Sur in southeast Turkey passed
DİYARBAKIR – Doğan News Agency
REUTERS photoA draft resolution over the status of the Sur district in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, which is home to a UNESCO-protected world heritage site, has been passed without being opened for discussion from the agency’s World Heritage Committee’s 40th session being held in Istanbul.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee passed the draft which includes articles concerning Sur’s recovery from the damages caused by the clashes taking place in the district between the Turkish Armed Forces and outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, a pressing issue which was brought to the agenda of the committee.
The draft “expresses its concern over the situation prevailing in Diyarbakır; acknowledges the steps taken by the state party to protect the property and its buffer zone and underlines the importance of preventing any further damage to the property; requests the state party, as soon as the security situation allows, to carry out an assessment of the state of conservation of the property and submit the results to the World Heritage Centre and the advisory bodies for review; further requests the state party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.”
With Roman-era basalt walls encircling historic houses, churches, synagogues and mosques, Sur was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2015.
Diyarbakır’s Sur has witnessed heavy clashes during operations by Turkey’s security forces against the PKK, which began around a year ago and severely damaged many of the residential and historic buildings in the district, causing many of its residents to leave the area.