New regulation imposes ‘Turkish majority crew’ rule for archeological excavations

New regulation imposes ‘Turkish majority crew’ rule for archeological excavations

Ömer Erbil - ISTANBUL
New regulation imposes ‘Turkish majority crew’ rule for archeological excavations

According to a new regulation, 51 percent of archeological excavation teams led by foreign crews should consist of Turkish nationals. The purpose of this new regulation is to train more Turkish archeologists.

The rule has already been put into practice in 32 excavation sites.

The Culture and Tourism Ministry has sent a directive to the head of the excavations team notifying them of the new regulation.

Some 600 Turkish nationals are expected to take part in the excavations led by foreign crews.

According to the newly imposed rule, the key posts in excavations such as archeologist, anthropologist, art historian, restaurateur, architect, and photographer, should be reserved for Turkish citizens.

Currently, foreign crews are carrying out archeological excavation work in 32 ancient cities. Academics from German, Italian, American, Belgian, Swiss, French, Japanese, and Canadian universities have been working on archeological sites in Turkey since the Ottoman era with the permission of authorities.

A Turkish commissioner from the ministry or a museum supervises the excavation activities of foreign crews.

Foreign crews should initially apply to the Foreign Ministry to obtain the necessary permission. If the ministry approves the request, the Culture and Tourism Ministry grants the final permit. In previous years, foreign excavation teams would only submit a list of the crew.

“In the past, only workers and support services providers would take part in archeological excavations led by foreign teams. Austrians who have been working in the Ephesus site for over a century have not trained a single Turkish archeologist. We want to change this. We also want to create jobs for those who graduated from the related departments,” the Culture and Tourism Ministry said.

“Next year, we will demand that PhD and masters’ students be included on the core scientific committees that are part of the excavations,” it added.