October 9, 2009
Last Stand for Allianoi !
Decision imminent on threatened archaeological site.
Two important but contradictory developments this week signal a turning point in the struggle for Allianoi.
An Historic Turkish Appeal Court Ruling received earlier this week confirms Allianoi’s status as a first class archaeological site that should be protected at all costs. But also this week, a leaked secret Protection Committee report gives the green light to Yortanli Dam: the report actually states that the best way to preserve Allianoi would be to cover the site with silt and submerge it in the dam lake. The Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism announces an “imminent solution.” (The Ministry of Culture has not given an excavation permit for Allianoi in the last three years).
The very first court case launched on July 1, 2005 by 73 concerned citizens, the Assosiation of Turkish Archaeologists, The Economical and Social History Foundation of Turkey, the Chamber of Architects, and Izmir Tourist Guides’ Association to prevent the submerging of Allianoi, argued that the location of the irrigation dam should be changed to protect Allianoi, but the case was dismissed by Izmir’s 2nd Administrative Court on November 17, 2006. Now, the Appeal Court has reversed that decision.
The Appeal Court decision is strongly worded to emphasize the duty of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to preserve a designated First Class Archaeological Site, and to open the location of Yortanli Dam for discussion.This ruling comes at a critical moment for Allianoi, on a week when the argument for covering Allianoi with silt and flooding the site was gaining momentum.
The Minister of Culture expressed his approval of a report prepared by Izmir’s Committee for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, that represents a total and final betrayal of historic heritage.
The Court of Appeal states in no uncertain terms that no construction or other physical interference is to be permitted in cultural and natural heritage sites. We, the defenders of Allianoi call on the international community to urge the Turkish Government to respect the ruling of its own High Court Decision, and to ensure the continuation of excavations at Allianoi.
Alime Mitap, Spokesperson for the Allianoi Initiative.
For more information:
Üstün Bilgen-Reinart (mobile phone: +90 536 471 5950, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Web page: www.allianoi.org