Archaeology strains German-Turkish relationsBreaking News
tags: archaeology, Germany, Turkey, Ottoman Empire
An argument between Germany and Turkey about ancient treasures is escalating. Turkey wants its treasures back, but German archaeologists say Turkish sites are being exploited for tourism.
Archaeology often has a lot to do with politics - the current argument between Germany and Turkey is a prime example. Hermann Parzinger, head of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, last December accused Turkey of displaying "almost chauvinistic behavior." In reply, the Turkish culture minister Ömer Celik told German news magazine "Der Spiegel" that he demanded an apology, and he asked for five ancient objects to be returned that are currently shown in museums in Berlin. He claims they were taken out of Turkey illegally. Parzinger rejects any accusations of illegality for three of these objects: In December 2012, he said that the torso of the Fisherman of Aphrodisias, the sarcophagus from the Haci Ibrahim Veli tomb and a 13th-century prayer niche were all acquired legally.
But "legal" is a fluid concept in the world of archaeology. The export of ancient treasures from the Ottoman Empire has been prohibited by law since 1884. At the same time though, it wasn't unusual to share the treasures discovered in excavations with teams from abroad. Special permission was often given to take objects out of the country, and there was a flourishing black market. The issue is often less a matter of legality than of morality....
comments powered by Disqus
- 10 Historians on What Will Be Said About President Obama's Legacy
- Harvard art historian James S. Ackerman Dies at 97
- Obama’s Legacy as a Historian
- Jack Rakove tells League of Women Voters Electoral College needs to be abolished
- Juan Cole says Chelsea Manning’s leaks contributed to the revolution in Tunisia