REOPEN THE BODRUM CASTLE; STOP THE PROJECT THAT WILL DAMAGE IT IRREVOCABLY

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As the symbol of Bodrum in Turkey and worldwide, the Bodrum Castle is under the danger of irrevocably losing its visual identity, its historical and cultural value because of a project commissioned by the Ministry of Culture & Tourism in 2014 and later approved by Muğla Historical Sites Committee and with the construction tender already completed and construction contract signed.

Besides stipulating demolition and new construction inside the Bodrum castle in defiance of Turkish Law no 2863 on “The Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage” and the United Nations “Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage” signed by Turkey (see http://whc.unesco.org/en/conventiontext The Ministry of Culture and Tourism project  shall cause damage and destruction on the unique shipwrecks preserved in the Bodrum Underwater Museum of the Castle and the part of archeological remains of Halicarnassus located under the Castle.

We demand from The Ministry of Culture and Tourism TO IMMEDIATELY STOP AND CANCEL THIS ILLEGAL PROJECT WHICH SHALL SERIOUSLY DAMAGE THE BODRUM CASTLE THAT IS A PART OF TURKISH AND WORLD CULTURAL HERITAGE, INCLUDING ALL HISTORICAL ASSETS ON AND UNDER THE CASTLE GROUNDS.

 1)      BODRUM CASTLE IS A GRADE 1 ARCHEOLOGICAL SITE AREA AND AS SUCH IS QUALIFIED AS GRADE 1 HISTORICAL MONUMENT TO BE PRESERVED. Turkish Law does not allow any new construction at this type of site areas, it demands them to be preserved as they are with the exception of scientific investigations. (see article no.1 of Cultural and  Natural Properties Conservation High Committee Resolution no 658 dated Nov 5th 1999 prepared in accordance with Turkish Law no 2863 on “The Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage” related articles) 

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism project  on the other hand, foresees 2300 m2 of new indoor space construction, 3000 m2 of new open hard surface and 5200 m2 of new landscape work all within the small grounds of the Bodrum Castle. According to this new project not only will the Castle inner space lose all its characteristic and identity, the new buildings designed shall be in some places 3-4 meters higher than the existing castle walls and the new buildings and elevators shall be visible from outside the Castle as well.

Furthermore, carrying out activities of demolition, excavation and removal and construction in this restricted area full of historical works both above and under ground can cause damage to the castle walls AND ALL RARE AND SENSITIVE FINDS HOUSED IN THE MUSEUM.

The Bodrum Castle was nominated to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2016 and is accepted in the Tentative list. Damages caused by this project will make its acceptance to the final list very difficult. Furthermore, only countries that have signed the Heritage Convention and as such have guaranteed to protect cultural heritage are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. This degree of damage by Turkish authorities on its own candidate site endangers how future candidates presented by Turkey to the List shall be regarded.

 2)      Bodrum Castle also functions as the ONLY UNDERWATER ARCHEOLOGY MUSEUM OF TURKEY. The Bodrum Underwater Archeology Museum has RECEIVED A SPECIAL PRIZE IN THE MUSEUM OF THE YEAR COMPETITION in 1995 and is listed as ONE OF THE SEVEN LEADING UNDERWATER ARCHEOLOGY MUSEUMS OF THE WORLD in UNESCO website.(. http://www.unesco.org/new/en/culture/themes/underwater-cultural-heritage/about-the-heritage/underwater-museums )   

According to the new project designs, exhibition spaces such as the Serçe Bay Glass Wreck Hall which houses the oldest shipwreck in the world, the Bronze Age Shipwreck Hall housing the Uluburun Shipwreck shall be demolished. Some of the buildings designated to be demolished are ancient buildings restored according to the approvals of Preservation Committees. But they are planned to be demolished completely with claims that they are not original.

Some of the shipwrecks and artefacts of the Museum are housed in controlled environments because of their sensitivity to vibration, temperature, light and humidity. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PROTECT THEM FROM DESTRUCTION DURING TRANSPORTATION FOR CONSTRUCTION.

Visitors of the Bodrum Underwater Archeology Museum have a chance to see various parts of the Castle, the rare finds there and diverse views of the town while strolling around the present configuration of the Museum. This award winning genuine configuration specific to the Bodrum Castle and its Underwater Archeology Museum is being destroyed irrevocably by the new project.

LET US NOT ALLOW THE BODRUM CASTLE WHICH IS A PART OF THE WORLD CULTURAL HERITAGE AND THE RARE FINDS HOUSED IN THE UNDERWATER ARCHEOLOGY MUSEUM TO BE DAMAGED IRREVOCABLY.

 



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