Council of Europe takes notice of ancient sites in Turkey

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The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has urged the Turkish government to preserve critical archeological sites located in two cities, İzmir and İstanbul, saying cultural heritage should not be sacrificed for large-scale economic development projects.

In a report released by PACE during their summer session, the Council of Europe cited dam construction projects in Allianoi, near Bergama in İzmir province, that would risk flooding what it called “the outstandingly well-preserved 2nd-century Roman thermal baths and Asklepion [medical treatment center]” which was discovered in the 1990s during routine surveys carried out in preparation for the construction of the Yortanlı Dam.

The site was due to be flooded following the finalization of the dam construction in summer 2007 but was postponed after a local and international outcry including from Europa Nostra and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), which intervened in favor of conservation of the site. Farmers in the area, however, put pressure on the government to go ahead with the planned activation of the dam, especially after a recent drought....

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