Ertuğrul excavations continue to reveal history
MUĞLA – Doğan News Agency
DHA PhotoA new season of underwater excavations on the Ertuğrul frigate, which sank near Japan’s city of Kushimoto and caused the death of 550 Turkish sailors, have been ongoing since the beginning of the year. The recent works in the frigate have unearthed many new artifacts. Among them are soldier uniforms and a naval mine. This year’s goal is to find the frigate’s safe.
Excavations on the frigate started nine years ago. At 200 meters off the coast under a depth of 30-45 meters, the works are being carried out by eight divers, eight hours a day. They have so far unearthed 450 artifacts during the last 10 days.
A mine, porcelain plates, wooden and iron parts, tools used by officers, wrist pins, spools, door handles and taps were among the artifacts found during the excavations. The conservation of some artifacts has already been finished.
Following the objects’ conservation and cleaning at the Kushimoto Ertuğrul Conservation Center, the pieces will be displayed at the Turkish Museum, which is located in Kushimoto, officials have said.
Tufan Turanlı, the head of excavations, who is bringing together the U.S., Turkish and Japanese scientists for the excavation efforts, says, “Since 2007, we have found nearly 9,000 pieces. We get excited everyday as we find new things. Now we try to reach the safe of the frigate, [which is] under 30-45 meters deep.”
Mobile Ertuğrul lab to travel country
The artifacts found as part of the Ertuğrul project, which is being carried out by the Bodrum Culture and Arts Foundation (BOSAV) and the Underwater Archaeology Institute, were displayed in 11 exhibitions in Turkey and Japan. Also, more than 800 news articles and television programs have featured them in promotions around the world.
“We progressed so fast in this year’s excavations. Our main goal is to reach the safe of Ertuğrul. We also want to establish the Mobile Ertuğrul Lab to keep the memory of the Ertuğrul martyrs alive. We will carry these valuable artifacts to every part of Turkey and express Turkish-Japanese friendship,” Turanlı says.
According to Turanlı, a new TV show program titled “On the Track of Ertuğrul” will also begin later this year.
“The program is set to start in May this year. As the honorary guest of the first program, famous late poet Can Yücel’s sister and the granddaughter of Ertuğrul’s captain Ali Bey, Gülümser Yücel, will go to Kushimoto and visit the martyrdom.”
During last year’s works, Winchester guns and cannonballs were found. This year’s works will continue until Feb. 1, Turanlı says.