Turkish artifacts in Syria being destroyed
KONYA – Anadolu AgencySome of the 17 Seljuk and Ottoman artifacts in Syria which were registered within the scope of a 2009 project titled “The Inventory of Seljuk Artifacts” under the auspices of former Turkish President Abdullah Gül have been destroyed during the civil war in the country, according to Selçuk University Professor Osman Eravşar.
Speaking about the structures from the Nebataean Kingdom in Petra, located between Raqqa and Aleppo, the professor said, “There are mostly mosques, madrasahs and tombs here. But the most important one among the artifacts in Syria is the minaret of the Great Mosque of Aleppo. This minaret had Arabic-Emevi features in its architecture but reflected the characteristics of the Seljuk era. What was important to us was the inscription of this minaret. Unfortunately, this minaret does not exist today.”
Eravşar said the minaret was destroyed by the soldiers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime on grounds they had been shot at from the balcony of the minaret.
“But I think the reason is different. The existence of the name of the sultan Melikshah on the inscription may have caused the minaret to be destroyed,” he said.
Historical artifacts removed and sold
The professor said he was concerned about the fate of the other artifacts, among them a bridge over the Tigris River, which has a very significant place in the history of art.
“Only one side and two legs of this bridge still survive. The reliefs on the legs of this bridge are very important in terms of architecture. They are being removed and sold,” he said.
Eravşar said he was shocked after seeing the collapse of the minaret of the Great Mosque of Aleppo. “All the cultural beings of the Seljuk era are wanted to be destroyed. Syria is bothered by the Seljuks and Turks. War is used as an excuse to destroy the Seljuk and Ottoman artifacts there,” he, said.
“We know about the artifacts but we are very sorry about their fate. We receive news that they are in desperate condition. This is the same in Iraq, too. We know that many historical artifacts have been damaged in Kirkuk and its vicinity. In my opinion, all these are deliberate actions. The cultural beings there are being destroyed barbarously. Some people feel ill about the existence of these structures there. Not only Turkey but also the whole world should stop it. The Seljuk artifacts are a part of the world’s cultural heritage. A minaret in Aleppo can be destroyed with dynamite for the sake of one person’s ambitions. As a society, we need to mold public opinion about this issue,” he said.