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Sinop city travel
Sinop travel
situated on a narrow peninsula at Turkey’s northernmost point, Sinop is like a Black Sea island with its good-natured people and streets where time passes slowly.

pontian greek Development of the Pontic Greek Dialect
Development of the Pontic Greek Dialect
Will Pontic Greek continue to be spoken? Bortone (2009) believes Pontic Greek spoken in the Pontos in Asia Minor today will probably disappear. The challenge is to keep the Pontic Greek dialect alive. The more recent work of researchers like Emeritus Professor Peter Mackridge, Assistant Professor Pietro Bortone, Dr Theofanis Malkidis, Ömer Asan, Dr Anthi Revithiadou and Dr Vassilios Spyropoulos have increased our knowledge of the dialect.


Time For to Discover the Black Sea Highlands

Time For to Discover the Black Sea Highlands

Discover the Black Sea highlands in September when time is suddenly rent by a blanket of fog or the cry of a vulture, and make the acquaintance of nature in its most beautiful aspect.

Greek settlements pontos map
Formation of the First Greek Settlements in the Pontos

According to Liddell and Scott’s An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, the word Pontos stands for the sea, especially the open sea. In time, the word Pontos became associated with the north-eastern portion of Asia Minor that borders the Black Sea (see Map 1).1 The Greeks first called the Black Sea, Aξεινος πóντος (inhospitable, unfriendly pontos), but later it was called Εϋξεινος πóντος (hospitable pontos) when they became aware of its wealth in the lands around it ...

Chrypto-christians Trabzon Pontos Matsouka

Crypto-Christians of the Trabzon Region of Pontos

The crypto-Christians (also called cryphi, klosti, Stavriotes, Kromledes) were Christian Greeks who due to the Muslim persecution against Christians publicly declared themselves Muslims. However, in secret, they upheld their Greek language, customs and Christian religious practices...
 

 

 

 Ideology and archaeology in Turkey

Traditional rural house, TrabzonTurkey
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ÖZDOĞAN, M. 1998. Ideology and archaeology in Turkey, in L. Meskell (ed.). Archaeology under fire. Nationalism, politics and heritage in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East: 111-24. London: Routledge.



Mehmet Özdogan

Setting the stage

Archaeology, and the active interest in constructions of the the past, is an innovation that was initiated, and subsequently evolved, in Europe. One could define archaeology as a perspicacious perception of the past that developed as one of the key elements of modern “Western”1 culture. As a concept, archaeology is closely linked with Western ideology and it is no coincidence that—in spite of the extensive field work taking place all over the world—ideas on how archaeological data should be evaluated are still being undertaken primarily in the West. At present, almost every state in the world, regardless of its economic status, cultural or historical background, is involved at some level in documenting, or at least in considering, the past. However, the type of archaeology that is being implemented differs considerably according to the ideological and/or political setting of each country (Arnold 1996; Banks 1996; Fleury-Ilett 1993; Mouliou 1996). One could say that while some nations are theorising archaeology, most nations are rather unconsciously practicing archaeology.

Archaeology began in Turkey as an imported concept. As such, it remained as an élite pursuit until it was integrated with the ideological framework of the Republic. At present, Turkey is one of the few countries where a local tradition in archaeology has developed. It also occupies a unique position being located between the West and the East. Turkey’s position is not just a matter of geographical location—in the last two centuries it has vacillated between Western and marginal Western models. Throughout history, and at present, its position has had a decisive impact on the formation of Anatolian cultures. The impact of this intermediary position between the East and the West can also be traced in the ideological formation of archaeology in Turkey.

The events that led to the emergence of modern Turkey are poorly known in the West, and without this knowledge, neither the motives that stimulated the development of archaeology in Turkey, nor the status of its current problems, can be comprehended. Throughout this chapter occasional remarks are made to illustrate the historical background of these events.

The beginnings of Turkish archaeology go back to the early years of the nineteenth century, to the time when the traditional Ottoman state was experiencing what can be termed as a ‘process of Westernisation’. Accordingly, archaeology in Turkey developed simultaneously through the events that led to the emergence of the modern Republic of Turkey.

Turkey is an Islamic country that for over half a millennia, as the only leading power of the Islamic world, had to confront European powers. Yet there are considerable discrepancies between Turkey and the other Middle Eastern and Islamic countries: these differences are not only restricted to distinct linguistic and ethnic origins, but Turks in general have never been orthodox in their religious beliefs.2 In spite of sharing the same religion, Turks (having their origins in remote Asia) and Arabs (having totally different origins and social habits), never developed a genuine liking for each other. Both in the Seljuk and in the Ottoman Empires, while people of Turkic origin were a minority, members of the Eastern Christian churches were at least as populous as their Islamic counterparts. Thus, when compared with the contemporary states in Europe, all Turkish states were highly pluralistic, being composed of diverse ethnic, racial, linguistic and religious groups. This seems to have characterised Anatolia from prehistoric times to the present. With some justification it can be stated that the Turkish population of the Ottoman Empire accorded better with their local Orthodox subjects than with other Islamic populations. Consequently, the Ottomans had inherited both the traditional hatred and mistrust of its Orthodox subjects to the Catholic World and also the physical boundary between the East and the West.3 This border endured, both physically and conceptually, for centuries.

The process of Westernisation in Turkey was not a linear development. As can be expected it was, and still is, full of controversies. First, it was a ‘state oriented’ process, mainly imposed by the newly emerging élite and even, in some cases, by the personal initiatives of the Sultans, implemented at the expense of confronting most of its subjects. Turkey’s struggles to change its system to a European one coincided in Europe with the peak of “anti-Turkish” trends, motivated under the impact of highly romanticized Hellenism. While Turkey was trying to integrate within the European cultural system, Europe was, and still is, reluctant to accept it, occasionally resulting in double-standards.

The emergence and the development of archaeology in Turkey took place under constraints that are deeply rooted in history. Confrontation between the traditional Islamic framework and the Western model, the endeavor to survive as a non-Arabic nation in the Middle East while the Empire was disintegrating, the hostile and occasionally humiliating attitude of Europeans, and growin nationalism have all been consequential in this development. The extremely rich archaeological potential of the country served to stimulate a developing interest in archaeology. However, compared to other Middle Eastern states where similar potential exists, Turkey can claim to have developed a long tradition in archaeology. Turkey not only became the first Islamic country to develop a critical view on cultural heritage, but it is the only one where a continuum has been established between local politics and science. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that Turkey offers a rare case where scientific research—both by foreigners and Turks —could endure, without any obstructions, for over a century.4 I consider that the pace that archaeology took in Turkey is much more related to the ideology of the modern Republic than to the existing archaeological potential of the country.

The modern Republic of Turkey, founded in 1923, is the direct descendant of the Ottoman empire which, up to 1829 (the year when Peloponnese seceded from the Empire), extended over the Near East, Northern Africa, Caucasus, Cyprus and to most of the Balkan peninsula, including Greece and the Aegean islands. Almost all the regions that were considered the cradle of civilisation, thus appealing to the archaeologists, were dominated by the Ottoman Empire. During the incipient years of archaeology, at the time when the first European archaeologists took to the field, Turkey—or the Ottoman Empire—was the only non-Western European country to face the first wave of explorers and archaeologists. This inevitably had an impact on the Ottomans. The intelligentsia became engaged in archaeology, directly or indirectly, and came to consider it at a relatively early date. Like other modern institutions, archaeology began in Turkey as an imitation of that in the West. No efforts were spent either thinking about archaeological practices or adapting archaeology to local needs. It was oriented simply to the Near Eastern, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine cultures. The remains of the Seljuk or of the Ottoman periods were not considered as antiquities
for a long period of time.

The traditional Ottoman perception of the past

The traditional Ottoman perception of the past, as in most other non-Western cultures, was less dependent on ‘factual’ evidence or, rather, the ‘facts’ did not necessarily have to be as concrete as they are in the Western way of thinking. The philosophical base of the Ottoman Empire, the forerunner of modern Turkey, can be considered as an amalgamation of Oriental and Islamic cultures, having its roots both in Central Asia and in the Near East. The conception of the ‘past’ was thus more putative than empirical. It was, in a way, an abstraction without a temporal dimension. Thus, “Antiquarianism…failed to develop in the Near East, where Islamic peoples lived in the midst of impressive monuments of antiquity” (Trigger 1989:44). There is an interesting contradiction in the Ottoman system. More than any other nation, the Ottomans collected and meticulously kept documents and books—even those left over from the Byzantine Period were saved. Extremely accurate records were kept from all over the Empire, yielding minute details about historical events and daily activities. Written documents, regardless of their subject matter, were saved and archived. However, these documents were never used to write a “factual” history. History was more a tradition beyond the use of written texts or documents. It is not a coincidence, then, that the history of the Ottomans was inevitably written by Europeans.

A past based on “facts”, or the perception that ancient remains constituted evidence from which to write a history, was a concept imported into the Ottoman Empire. Most of the “ancient buildings” were saved and esteemed, not because they were considered as indicators of the past, but because they were associated with an atavistic patrimony. For this reason, the traditional Ottomans considered inconceivable the interest shown to ancient ruins by the first generation of European archaeologists.
The first generation of European archaeologists and the Ottoman Empire

As mentioned above, the Ottoman Empire was the first and, for a considerable time, the only non-European state to meet the initial wave of European explorers and archaeologists. The latter were at first ignored, but in general their actions were taken to be the bizarre deeds of the Westerners. However, in time, the looting of sites and removal of antiquities by the Western explorers infuriated the newly emerging intelligentsia of the Empire.

As a part of the process of modernization in the beginning of the nineteenth century, a number of Western style institutions had already been established in the Ottoman Empire. Within that context, in 1846 a collection of antiquities was established in Istanbul (see Arik 1953). In 1868, this collection was to be inaugurated as the Ottoman Imperial Museum. As the Empire was still controlling the Near East and most of the Balkans, its collections grew rapidly and, in 1891, it moved to a new building, now the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. By the first decade of the twentieth century there were already a number of museums in the provinces, including Bursa, Selanik (present Thessaloniki), Konya and Sivas. As archaeology came to the Ottoman Empire as an imported concept through the impact of Classical archaeologists, most of the collections in the Ottoman Museums initially consisted of Hellenistic, Roman or Byzantine antiquities. In time, Near Eastern and Egyptian collections were added and since then all antiquities, regardless of their cultural origins, have been collected. The same trend can also be envisaged in selecting sites to be excavated. During the last decades of the nineteenth century, almost all the Turkish excavations were at sites of Greco-Roman period, such as Sidon, Nemrut Dag, Alabanda, Sipar, Tralles etc. (Arik 1950:4).

The most significant contribution made by the Ottomans to archaeology was prohibiting the export of antiquities which at that time might be considered as revolutionary. In 1884, Osman Hamdi Bey, the curator of the Imperial Museum and most eminent figure in the history of Turkish archaeology, formulated a new law for the protection of antiquities (see also Potts, Chapter 10). This law was so well formulated that it was maintained until 1972. Two important concepts were introduced by it: one considering all antiquities as the property of the state, and the other forbidding the export of all antiquities. The latter was strongly opposed and, to a degree, disregarded by Westerners until the establishment of the Turkish Republic. The major difficulty in the implementation of this law was the attitude of the Western archeologists and diplomatic services, not only because they wanted to enrich the museums of their own countries, but because they considered the Turks ineligible to possess such collections. There are numerous cases demonstrating this attitude, but H.Schliemann’s smuggling of the finds from Troy is the most explicit case (see Esin 1993). Schliemann countered the claims of the Ottoman government by stating that “instead of yielding the finds to the government…by keeping all to myself, I saved them for the science. All the civilized world will appreciate what I have done” (ibid.: 185). This view is also expressed by Runnels (1997:127): “He [Schliemann] shared the widely held dislike of the Ottomans that characterized Europeans in his day…his high-handed behavior …was excusable, even laudable.” In Europe, no one seriously considered justifying their practices eidier in scientific or in intellectual circles.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the Ottoman Empire experienced considerable political and economical difficulties which led to a total collapse. Considering the situation, the ability to maintain museums without losing their collections was a significant achievement of the first generation of Turkish archaeologists. During the last episode of the Ottoman Empire, attempts were made by certain foreign diplomatic missions to receive, as a present, some of the outstanding pieces on display. Such attempts were, with certain tact and persistence, prevented. More significant were the events during the years of occupation following the collapse of the Empire. After World War I, when most of Turkey—and in particular Istanbul—was occupied by the British and French troops, the director of the Imperial Museum, Ethem Bey, was able to save the museums. After Turkey’s War of Independence, the persistent claims of the government enabled archaeological material, excavated and removed during the occupation, to be partially repatriated. The most significant example of this is material from the Protesilaos-Karaagaçtepe excavations.

It should be emphasised here that the illicit export of antiquities from the Empire, as well as accusations of spying by some archaeologists such as T.E. Lawrence, inevitably resulted in foreign archaeologists being cast as disreputable characters. With the growing impact of nationalism, this image, at least among the general public, has been sustained up to the present.

Nationalism and archaeology in Turkey

Nationalism, both as a concept and as an ideology, developed in Western Europe and began impacting upon the Ottoman Empire by the first half of the nineteenth century. However, the Turkish population of the Empire were the last to contemplate this idea. For a considerable time, as late as the 1890s, even intellectuals educated in the West considered nationalism a very strange idea. The concept that Turkish speakers constituted a single nation is another idea that was imported from the West. Despite being customary for Europeans and other Middle Eastern peoples to identify Ottomans with Turks, throughout most of its existence the Ottomans not only rejected Turkish identity, but even considered it humiliating (see Güvenç 1996:21–33).5 Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and during the formation of the new Turkish state, one of the main concerns of Atatürk, the founder of the new republic, was to propagate Turkish identity. Given Turkey’s situation in 1923 this seemed like an impossible achievement since for centuries being a Turk (and not an Ottoman) was considered degrading. Moreover, during the War of Independence there was no one, except a handful of intelligentsia educated in the West, who called themselves Turkish.

In creating a nation out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, it was essential to formulate an ideology that would assure national pride, give moral direction and identity. Most of the elite of the time were utterly desperate and had lost confidence as a result of the events that led to the collapse of the Ottoman system. They took a more retrospective view by looking back to the glorious days of history and to their Turkic origins in Central Asia. Thus, they promoted the Pan-Turkist ideology.

Atatürk was one of the few, if not the only person, who rejected Pan-Turkism and still had confidence in Anatolia. He developed an antithesis to the prevailing Pan-Turkist ideology and insisted upon Anatolia being the homeland. To substantiate this totally new concept, an ethnohistorical theory was formulated, relating Sumerians and Hittites to the Turks, and integrated into the ideological framework of the new state. This approach considered Anatolia and the present population as an ethnic amalgamation of thousands of years. Pan-Turkists, who later became the ideologists of the racist movements of the present times, were rather pleased with the idea of affiliating Sumerians and Hittites to Turkish origins, but they never accepted a pre-Turkish history of Anatolia as a part of their heritage. In some respects, conflict between “Anatolianism” and Pan-Turkism continues to the present day—although there was some consensus, at least in history books, by stressing both the Anatolian heritage and over-stressing Central Asian origins. The latter, particularly in books written in the 1930s under the impact of prevailing nationalistic trends of its time, posited a Turkish exodus from Asian steps. Atatürk’s view, summoning all the pasts of Anatolia—regardless of ethnic origin—as national, was incorporated into the ideology of the modern state.

The motive behind this ideology has survived, with some modifications up to the present. Remnants of all cultures that lived in Anatolia have been regarded impartially, either in issuing research permits or in the funding of archaeological expeditions; sites of Hellenistic, Byzantine or Turkish period were treated equally. For example, of the major excavations conducted in Turkey in 1995, twentyfour were on prehistoric and proto-historic period sites, thirty on Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine, and only nine on Islamic period sites. Even during the last decade, the newly founded nationalist and fundamentalist political parties have not yet hampered, but have begun criticising the state for treating pre- Turkish or pre-Islamic remains no differently from those of the later periods. One of their arguments is based on the fact that in the Balkan countries Ottoman cultural heritage had been systematically destroyed and that asking for a permit to excavate sites of Ottoman period in most of these countries (Greece, for example) would be unthinkable.

Turkish views on foreign archaeological expeditions

Another political aspect of archaeology in Turkey has been the relationship between the “foreign” and local archaeologists. Turkish archaeologists, since the last quarter of the nineteenth century, have been active, not only in the field, but also in setting a legislative basis regulating archaeological activities. Particularly since the 1930s the number of archaeologists, museums and institutions has consistently increased. In spite of the presence of a local archaeological tradition Turkey is one of the few Middle Eastern or Balkan countries to maintain good relations between the local and foreign teams. With the exception of the 1920s, during the formation years of the Republic, there have always been foreign teams working in Turkey. Occasionally there have been short episodes of turmoil, but these stem primarily from problems such as spying and smuggling and not from ideological reasons.

The first generation of Turkish archaeologists

From the beginning, archaeology in Turkey had developed as an élite involvement. Almost all first generation Turkish archaeologists were educated in the “Western style” and belonged to aristocratic families (see Esin, forthcoming). Notable among them are Osman Hamdi Bey, Makridi Bey, Halil Ethem Bey, followed by Aziz Ogan and Arif Müfit Mansel, all eminent scholars with strong personalities. The principles set by them have continued to be the traditional standpoint of Turkish archaeology, regarding all past cultures as equally important. At the same time they have defended the legal rights of the country by the protection of antiquities, rejecting all sorts of trade and exportation of antiquities. They have also established as a tradition the maintenance of good relations with foreign archaeological schools working in Turkey. Yet, two other serious implications of this tradition need to be mentioned. Due to their élitist background, these early scholars neither considered propagating archaeology to a more general public media, nor stimulating a consciousness for past heritage. Perhaps one positive consequence of this ‘élitism’ was to save archaeology from the political turmoils that the country experienced in the course of Westernisation.

Being extremely selective in issuing excavation permits by asking high scholarly standards is a tradition that was instigated by the first generation of Turkish archaeologists and later became the unwritten official policy. Unlike most Middle Eastern countries, where young and unexperienced archaeologists can easily get archaeological permits, the Turkish authorities have been selective, not only to foreigners, but even more to the Turkish archaeologists. While bringing higher excavation standards to Anatolia, it inevitably limited the number of excavated sites and, subsequently, our knowledge. Throughout the 1960s, when the number of excavated sites per year were counted in hundreds thoughout the Middle East and in the Balkans, the number remained below twenty in Turkey.

In the 1930s, Atatürk took a personal initiative to engage with archaeology. A group of students were sent to Europe, mainly to France, Germany and Hungary, to study archaeology, the Turkish Historical Society was founded, and Turkish excavations resumed in full. In the years preceding World War II, Atatürk invited German professors, fleeing from the Nazi regime, to Turkey. Most chairs in archaeology in the newly founded or reformed universities of the young Turkish Republic were allocated to migrant German professors. In 1939, this new influx of academics, coupled with the return of students educated abroad, led to a significantly high standard of teaching in archaeology. These students became the second generation of archeologists in Turkey. Even though archaeological excavations, such as Alaca Höyük, were promptly reflected in history books, the actual popularization of archaeology did not take place until the late 1960s.

The second generation and women in archaeology

The first of this second generation of Turkish archaeologists were educated in Europe. However, soon after World War II the new group of students in Turkish Universities took to the field. It was no longer a profession for the élite or aristocrats but their impact still persisted. An interesting aspect of this generation was the sudden increase in the number of active female archaeologists, a trend that still continues today. At present, Turkish archaeology is dominated by female archaeologists, and most archaeology departments are chaired by women. They also constitute a clear majority in museum-based archaeology. In this respect, at least in the Middle East, Turkey is a unique case.

Double standards in protection and cultural cleansing of Turkish heritage

On several occasions Turkey has been accused of the “selective destruction” of antiquities. As in all countries currently undergoing the process of industrialization, considerable destruction is unfortunately being inflicted upon sites and monuments. Turkey’s cultural inventory has not been completed yet and, in spite of existing legislations, massive destruction of sites is taking place due simply to inefficient implementation of the law. Nonetheless, I would argue that the destruction is neither culturally nor religiously selective. It is either due to the growing pressure caused by expanding urban, industrial and tourist centers, industrialized agriculture etc., or is the result of illicit digging by treasure hunters. Intensive construction activities currently taking place in Turkey have clearly resulted in the destruction of sub-surface Byzantine deposits, but the same activities have devastated even more of the Ottoman remains. With justification we can claim that during the last decades more Ottoman archaeology has been destroyed than any of the earlier periods since public opinion still posits that Byzantine and Greco-Roman remains are antique whilst Ottoman ones are not. Even during conservative governments the only case that has been made public is that of St Sophia. This reputed Byzantine monument, after being used as a mosque for over 400 years, was converted to a museum by Atatürk. During the last twenty years conservative parties have occasionally demanded that it should again be used as a mosque as it symbolizes the conquest of the town. However, these demands have been met with such public rejection that the issue has now faded from current discussions. It should be taken into consideration that the Ottoman Empire ruled in the Balkans and the Near East for over 600 years and, to the Ottomans, the heartland of the empire was in fact the Balkans, not Anatolia. As such, most of the monuments were erected there. As late as 1908, all Macedonia, Western Thrace and parts of Bulgaria were still part of the Ottoman Empire. Now, almost nothing of Ottoman heritage survives in most of the Balkan countries. What survived through this “cultural cleansing” are sample areas of civilian architecture preserved, not as markers of cultural heritage, but for the purposes of tourism. Some mosques have been saved, either by being converted into museums or churches, but other monuments, particularly the Turkish cemeteries, have been wiped out.

On the other hand, even a brief survey of the old territories of the Ottoman Empire shows that the area is still full of pre-Turkish remains. After 500 years of Ottoman rule, Greece is still full of ancient Greek and Byzantine monuments. There are numerous old churches and monasteries throughout the Balkans that were maintained and repaired during Ottoman rule. Turkey, particularly Istanbul, still has numerous Byzantine, Roman and Hellenistic monuments, and most museums have special departments covering these periods. Most of the universities with programs in archaeology or art history have Classical archaeology and Byzantine art departments. As previously stated, most of the current excavations and restoration programs are devoted to pre-Turkish periods. Research and excavation permits are not rejected for taking Byzantine sites or monuments as their subjects. In the Balkans, however, the situation is different. Besides the systematic destruction of Ottoman archaeological remains, the Ottoman period has been omitted as a field of research. Considering the claims of southern Cypriots (see Vermeule 1975), one is
prompted to ask what remains of the 300 years of Ottoman heritage in Southern
Cyprus?

There are often claims in Europe that Kurdish and Armenian cultural heritages in Turkey are being overlooked.6 Excavation and research permits there are issued by the Antiquity Service and I suggest that it is misguided to consider that applications are processed according to potential ethnic import of a site. All over Eastern and Southeastern Turkey there are, and have been for a long period of time, numerous excavations covering the entire time span from the Neolithic to Medieval periods. Numerous Armenian sites, including Ani and Ahtamar, have been excavated and a number of Armenian churches have been restored. For the most part, archaeology has not been linked to contemporary polemics surrounding ethnicity. Yet what is intended by Kurdish heritage, or Kurdish archaeology, is not clear. Kurds have lived in that region for some millennia under different tribal names,7 without establishing any state. The area now populated by Kurdish peoples has been part of numerous kingdoms and empires, including the Assyrian, Mittani, Urartian, Persian, Achaemenid, Roman, Byzantine, Armenian, Arab, Seljuk, Artuquid, Eyyubid, Mongolian, Ottoman and even the Crusader kingdoms. Which one of these should be considered Kurdish, Turkish or Arabic? Would such an approach not lead to a biased imposition of present conflicts onto the past? Is it our concern as archaeologists to use the past as a tool either to prove or disprove racial origins and claims which agitate present conflicts? Or should we engender the notion that the past is past and, whatever its character, it belongs to all of us?

Treasure hunting and the antiquities market

A final area where archaeology matters concerns the illicit looting of ancient sites to supply the demands of the art market. Cultural heritage in Turkey, like all “archaeologically rich” countries, suffers considerably from the exploits of treasure hunters. This phenomenon is provoked by the antiquity markets of the Western World and is not the result of any ideological reasoning. Turkey’s government, like that of Northern Cyprus, has been desperately struggling to stop illicit digging but it seems that, as long as there is a market in the West, the destruction will continue. Given these attempts, the West should not accuse these authorities of being unconcerned with illicit digging. To stop the illicit export of antiquities, buying them in Turkey (for Turkey) by paying sums comparable to the Western collectors has been suggested as an solution. For some years Turkish Museums bought from illicit diggers and, at the same time, private museums and collections were encouraged. This, of course, only encouraged further destruction of the sites. Museums attained
important objects at the expense of losing scientific knowledge of their contexts. The most significant destruction took place in the East and, in a few years, thousands of Urartian cemeteries were looted.

Conclusions

In spite of its significant place in the development of local archaeological traditions Turkish archaeology, as a case study, has been largely omitted or ignored by Western scholars working on the history of archaeology. Considering the large number of my colleagues that are fluent in our language it seems evident that this negligence is more the result of political biases than of the inability to access documents written in Turkish. Here we can conclude with the quote that ‘Third World nations resent those in the West who would deny them their past while claiming history as their own’ (McIntosh et al. 1989:74).

Notes

1 Throughout this paper, “Western Countries” or “Western” is used, not in a
geographical sense, but as a concept to indicate countries that are conceptually
integrated with West European culture.

2 Inevitably, this does not imply that there were never cases of religious
orthodoxy, but that they have all been short lived. It is no coincidence that
at present Turkey is the only secular state of the Islamic World.

3 Here it is interesting to note that in the Ottoman Empire most of the
bureaucrats were from the local Orthodox population. The traditional
concerns of the local Orthodox subjects against the West did have certain
consequences which hampered the process of Westernization (see Berkes
1975).

4 In some other Middle Eastern states, such as Jordan, Syria, Israel and during
the previous regime of Iran, it was much easier for foreign teams to get
research permits than in Turkey. However, in none of these countries has this
situation been uninterrupted and, often, political concerns have been more
influential in yielding permits to foreign teams. In yielding research permits,
Turkey has been more selective and thus more difficult—but I would argue
that the selection has been based on scientific concerns.

5 To the Ottomans, “Turk” signified nomadic Turkomans or simple villagers.
The terms “Turk” and “Turkey” were introduced to Europe by the Crusaders.
In the Ottoman Empire, Turk as the name of the nation was first suggested
in 1874, and with great concern. After the introduction of nationalism and
when, for the first time, it was suggested that the Turkish speakers constituted
a nation, the Ottoman intelligentsia, to humiliate, named them “Turkists”
(Berkes 1975:64).

6 Three years ago in preparing an Anatolian archaeological exhibition for
Belgium, the Belgian delegation asked specifically for Kurdish archaeology
to be represented in the collection.

7 It should be noted that the term “Kurdish” was a general name given by
other communities and not used by them. What is generalized as Kurdish
actually consists of a number of different languages and dialects. In Turkey
there are two main Kurdish languages, Zaza and Girmançi. Kurds, until a
few decades ago, identified themselves either with their tribal names or with
language groups.

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