Turkish ministry suspends museum director after archaeologist commits suicide

Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry suspended the director and the two experts at the country’s world-famous Zeugma Mosaic Museum in the southeastern province of Gaziantep, after an archaeologist committed suicide this week, Hürriyet daily reported on Friday.

The lawyer and the family of Merve Kaçmış say that the archaeologist committed suicide as she was subject to bullying by the museum’s management for refusing to take responsibility of about 100 unregistered artefacts. 

Kaçmış, who started working in the museum two years ago, took a leave this month and returned to her brother’s home in Diyarbakır in southeast Turkey. She reportedly jumped from the eight floor of the apartment building on Jan. 13.

The ministry launched an investigation after the suicide and suspended the director and the two experts. The authorities have started a full inventory count at Zeugma museum, the largest mosaic museum in the world.

According to Kaçmış’s family, the museum management forced the archaeologist to take over for responsibility of artefacts without registration numbers, preventing her to check the registries first. 

“I didn’t do it, I’m innocent. There are cameras everywhere, you’ll see when you watch,” Kaçmış said in a note she wrote before committing suicide, her lawyer told Hürriyet daily.

Aslı Pasinli, the lawyer of the family, said they saw the photograph of the note in the prosecutor’s office but could read only a part of it. 

The lawyer said she would demand a psychological autopsy to expose the reasons behind the suicide and would ask authorities to expand the investigation.