Wednesday, January 23, 2013

More Bad Press for Turkey

Turkey has received more bad press for revoking the excavation permits of German and French archaeologists due to the failure of German and French museums to repatriate artifacts removed from the country well before a 1970 benchmark.  The article also suggests that the Turkish Government is hypocritical for demanding repatriation on one hand, but happily destroying important archaeological sites on the other in the name of "progress."

As the article reports,

A Turkish archaeologist, who did not want to be named, said he was heartbroken that the government appeared to be destroying sites at the same time as battling for the return of artefacts. "I don't understand the attitude of the government," he said. "This contradiction is truly mind-boggling

So far, the agreement of the University of Pennsylvania to provide "long term loans" of ancient jewelry the Turks have demanded from its museum has saved the University's digs in Turkey.  But one wonders if such appeasement will  just lead to escalating demands over time. 

Frankly, I'd be happy if Turkey just sold rights to dig to the highest bidder and used the money to help preserve its unparalleled historical sites and spruce up its collections.   Putting digs on such a basis might also have the benefit of freeing American archaeologists from taking anything but the Turkish cultural bureaucracy's line on cultural heritage issues.

1 comment:

Museum Security Network said...

....and let us not forget all damage caused by Turkey to Greek orthodox heritage in Cyprus.