Archaeologists urged to monitor construction works in Diyarbakır’s historic Sur district demolished by Turkish gov’t

As the demolition of almost all buildings in Alipaşa neighbourhood of Diyarbakır’s Sur district has been completed and infrastructure constructions for new buildings have started, Büşra Cizrelioğulları, co-spokesperson of “No to Demolition in Sur Platform”, has called experts and archaeologists to monitor works in Sur to protect archaeologic values there.

Speaking to Mezopotamya Haber, Cizrelioğulları recalled that Sur is a historic city and protected area and stated tha “Although the demolition process in Sur should be carried out on scientific basis we see that no scientific research has been made. There should be experts and archaeologists here. But as we can see the works are carried out with no experts whatsoever.”

“Every meter of Sur contains history. We can’t know what we will see after the demolitions or excavations. Experts and archaeologists should be present here. We call for an immediate end to excavations. Every time they dig a piece of the land history may surface. The government should be aware of this,” said Cizrelioğulları.

Cizrelioğulları has also criticised the lack of transparency about the controversial construction plans in historic Sur district and said that nobody knows what kind of buildings are planned for the demolished area. The members of “No to Demolition in Sur Platform” have appealed to the Turkish authorities several times to let experts examine the area and demanded to get details of the construction plans but they received no answer.

Cizrelioğulları has also said their right to information has been denied by Turkish authorities and added that “We see that they (Turkish officials) are making plans and put them into practice without anybody’s knowledge. We will continue our attempts to find out what is aimed with these new constructions.”

Sur had been a scene of intense urban fighting between Turkish security forces and the armed offspring groups of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) following the declaration of self-governance in Sur  December 3, 2015. The fighting had lasted for 3 months and left a part of Sur destroyed. Even before the fighting ended Turkish government had announced controversial plans to rebuild Sur’s old city. Despite the resistance by locals Turkey started the demolition of the buildings last year.

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