Former head of Allianoi not given permission for dig
Ömer Erbil İZMİRTurkish officials have refused to give permission to Professor Ahmet Yaraş, the former of head of the Allianoi excavations, to conduct a dig at an archaeological site of Güre in Balıkesir’s Edremit district.
The hot spring site is reportedly being used as a garbage dump at the moment because officials have refused for three years to grant Yavaş permission to conduct the dig after he ran afoul of politicians in agitating to protect Allianoi.
Yaraş struggled against the Culture and Tourism Ministry for the ancient city of Allianoi in İzmir, which was submerged under the waters of the Yortanlı dam at the end of 2010.
Allianoi, which includes a Roman-era health complex that still survives, is located in the middle of the Yortanlı Dam. The ancient city was a unique archaeological heritage that should be preserved in its original place with its ancient bridges, historical spring and other immovable artifacts, according to scientists, yet the site was inundated.
Yaraş fought for years to save the ancient city, appearing in media and criticizing political decisions that sacrificed the site. The academic chained himself with environmentalists in demonstrations to prevent the dam construction, gaining the appreciation of archaeologists but the opprobrium of political circles.
Yaraş was the head of Allianoi excavations between 1998 and 2006.
In 2010, then-Environment Minister Veysel Eroğlu grabbed headlines for asserting that Allianoi, despite its numerous ancient artifacts, did not actually exist.
“There is no such place as Allianoi. It is just a hot spring that was recently restored called ‘Paşa Ilıcası,’” said Eroğlu.
“Veysel Eroğlu is not an archaeologist. What he said is really ridiculous,” Yaraş said at the time in response.