Such behavior is expectable from the Turks. The deeper the scientists dig into Portasar (better known as Göbekli Tepe), the more absurd their claims to their indigenousness to the region become, and the more ridiculous museum signboards reading “Ancient Turkey” get.
Everything is done in the Turkish manner: on one hand, they address UNESCO to demonstrate that they care for the valuable ancient heritage, and on the other, they irreparably damage the world heritage. Recall the ancient Syrian temple in Afrin destroyed by the Turks as a target of high priority.
But we digress, so let’s return to Göbekli Tepe. News Network Archaeology reports about the warnings of experts about irreparable damage caused to the world’s oldest temple area by the careless concrete laying works and heavy equipment.
Following her visit to the ancient temple site on March 14, archaeologist Çiğdem Köksal Schmidt, the wife of the renowned late Professor Klaus Schmidt who had previously headed the excavations at the site, said, “My sorrow is hard to articulate. Every time I visit there, I see another fragmentation coming to light.”
“As part of the construction of a protective roof, parts of the wooden walkway have been removed on the assumption that they would be put back later. Now, they are building a concrete walkway instead,” added Schmidt.
Footage of the construction works of a new walkway published by Schmidt on social media was met with anger and resentment.
Planning to get Göbekli Tepe in the UNESCO World Heritage Permanent List, Turkey carried out the project of a 4,000-square-meter protective roof and a new walkway. The roof has been already built at a cost of 6.6 million euros. Göbekli Tepe was included in the tentative list of UNESCO five years ago.
“As far as I can see in the photos, they have used concrete. They should not have used such material there, or they should use it as little as possible. There was already a very big roof in the middle of the natural site. We should not use highly modern materials at such sites,” said a member of the Göbekli Tepe Scientific Board Associate Professor Necmi Karul.
The works are to be completed before the site is reopened in April 2018.
Archaeologist Nezih Başgelen warned, “The construction work for the visitor center, as reflected in the media, looks like a disaster… They should have moved very sensitively in the protection zone, but we can see heavy construction equipment used on the site. It is very worrying that the extraordinary Neolithic remains and the round temple site at the entrance have been exposed to such action. It is unacceptable that such careless construction work has damaged this extraordinary archaeological site.”
As a respond to criticisms of the construction works at Göbekli Tepe, the Culture and Tourism Ministry of Turkey stated that “only construction equipment was used” at the site and denied that any concrete or asphalt was used. The statement also read that before the construction works of the 900-meter walkway began, a protective felt was placed on the soil. Then, cube stones were placed on the felt, and to fix those cube stones, 30-centimeter thick layers of mortar were grouted under the curbs.
In another statement, the ministry qualified the claims as “baseless and unscientific” and denied the damage to any historical asset. The ministry also announced an observation visit for experts and journalist to Göbekli Tepe.