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Turkey’s “Cultural War”

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


ANKARA, TURKEY—The Turkish government continues to pursue the return of artifacts illegally excavated from its soil that are currently housed in museums in New York, Paris, and Berlin. And while more than 4,000 artifacts were returned between 2002 and 2012, archaeologists point out that archaeological sites in Turkey such as Allianoi and Zeugma have been flooded by large dam projects. The Marmaray Tunnel Project in Istanbul has uncovered a Byzantine harbor and 8,000-year-old human remains, but construction delays could reportedly force the archaeological work to a premature end. “I don’t understand the attitude of the government. This contradiction is truly mind-boggling,” said an unnamed Turkish archaeologist.