Transportation of artefacts in ancient Turkish town continues despite court order

Turkish authorities are pushing ahead with the transportation of historic artefacts in Turkey’s southeastern ancient town of Hasankeyf, which will be submerged by the floodwaters of the Ilısu damn, despite a decision from the country’s highest administrative court to cancel the tender for the move, independent news site T24 reported.

The tender for the move of Hasankeyf’s historic artefacts by Turkey's State Hydraulic Works  was cancelled by the Council of State on Oct. 23. The country’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism has begun an investigation, however no changes appear to have been made to the scheduled move, T24 noted.

The walls of a mosque and the minaret of another were removed for relocation on Monday in the 12,000-year-old ancient city located in Batman province, it said, with locals expressing their frustration at roads leading to the town being blocked off.


The two companies who won the tender for the relocation of seven ancient artefacts are to transport a small Islamic monastery known as the İmam Abdullah Zaviye, the Artuklu Bath, Er-Rızk Mosque minaret, Orta Kapı, Süleyman Han, as well as the Kızlar and Koç mosques.

Hasankeyf locals have already started to settle in their new houses built by the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ), which began the construction of 710 houses to accommodate the locals approximately two years ago.

The region affected by the Ilısu dam is dotted with unique historic sites dating back to ancient times. The Turkish government plans to move several of the 300 monuments from Hasankeyf, an important example of a medieval settlement, to the cultural park by the end of the year before they are submerged.