Ataturk and archaeologists’ employment

Posted: 21/02/2014 in free archaeology, Research
Tags: , ,

Last year, Kayıp Kültür Varlıkları (Looted Heritage) wrote a post about Ataturk and archaeologists’ employment (Atatürk ve Arkeolog İstihdamı), which addressed the problems faced by the profession in Turkey in the early Twentieth Century and in the early Twenty-First Century…

This is basically a translation of that material, though here there is the historic situation then the present situation. Evidently Ataturk spoke/wrote in excruciating, paragraph-long sentences, so my translation is probably not perfect. I might try to add further comment, but I doubt it.

The state of archaeology and the profession in early twentieth-century Turkey

When he was president, Ataturk conducted ‘inspection visits [tetkik seyahatler[i]’, and ‘reviewed various places’ museums and monuments of ancient art and civilization [muhtelif yerlerdeki müzeleri ve eski sanat ve medeniyet eserlerini de gözden geçirdim]’. On the 21st of February 1931, he sent a telegram to Prime Minister İsmet İnönü:

1. Apart from Istanbul, I saw the existing museums in Bursa, Izmir, Antalya, Adana and Konya. Some monuments that can still be found in these places have been preserved and, partially with foreign experts’ help, classified. However, there is a definitive need for museum directorates and [local] (archaeology) experts to be used in excavation works for the scientific conservation and classification of works of ancient civilisations – unparalleled treasures that lie in almost every part of our country – by being unearthed by us, and for the conservation of monuments that are in a quite dilapidated state due to previous periods’ perpetual negligence. For this reason, I am of the opinion that it is suitable/expedient for a student who will be sent abroad [literally, outside] for study by the Board of Education[?] to assign part [of their study] to this subject.(A)

So the state invested in archaeology/cultural heritage training/work.

2. In Konya, despite being found in great ruin due to centuries of neglect, there are some monuments that are counted as equal to the true architectural masterpieces of the last eight centuries of Turkish civilisation. From these, in particular Karatay Madrasa, Alâeddin Mosque, the Mosque and Mausoleum of the Sahip Ata Madrasa, Sırçalı Masjid Mosque and the Slender Minaret Mosque are in states that require immediate and urgent repair. I request a procurement order for the release of those places under military occupation, which is the cause of this repair’s delay and the monuments’ complete degradation in the first place, and their repair under the absolute supervision of expert persons.(B)]

So the state also actively intervened in order to protect and conserve archaeological sites and historic buildings.

The state of archaeology and the profession in early twenty-first-century Turkey

How does the situation compare now? Kayıp Kültür Varlıkları explained that,

… thousands of archaeologists graduate every year. [They are] about to look for work in fields [other than] their own… Because instead of the state employing archaeologists, or any dig being done at archaeological sites, or foreign excavations continuing, available students are being assessed/evaluated [i.e. not technically employed] without pay. In the meantime, with every passing day, at an increasing rate, the country’s cultural treasures are being removed by looters and smuggled out of the country. In his own time, gazi [veteran] Mustafa Kemal [Atatürk], called attention to the seriousness of the situation and the urgency of the matter, hence a large number of archaeological museums were opened. And in the end? [Still] now, we continue to live with similar problems.(C)

Footnotes

A: 1. İstanbul’dan başka Bursa, İzmir, Antalya, Adana ve Konya’da mevcut müzeleri gördüm. Bunlarda şimdiye kadar bulunabilen bazı eserler muhafaza olunmakta ve kısmen de ecnebi mütehassısların yardımiyle tasnif edilmektedir. Ancak memleketimizin hemen her tarafında emsalsiz defineler halinde yatmakta olan kadim medeniyet eserlerinin ilerde tarafımızdan meydana çıkarılarak ilmi bir surette muhafaza ve tasnifleri ve geçen devirlerin sürekli ihmali yüzünden pek harap bir hale gelmiş olan âbidelerin muhafazaları için Müze Müdürlüklerine ve hafriyat işlerinde kullanılmak üzere (Arkeoloji) mütehassıslarına kat’i lüzum vardır. Bunun için Maarifce harice tahsile gönderilecek talebeden bir kısmının bu şubeye tahsisi muvafık olacağı fikrindeyim.

B: 2. Konya’da asırlarca devam etmiş ihmaller sebebiyle büyük bir harabi içinde bulunmalarına rağmen sekiz asır evvelki Türk medeniyetinin hakiki mimari şaheserleri sayılacak kıymette bazı mebani vardır. Bunlardan bilhassa Karatay Medresesi, Alâeddin Câmii, Sahip Ata Medrese Camii ve Türbesi, Sırçalı Mescit ve İnce Minareli Cami derhal ve müstacelen tâmire muhtaç bir haldedirler. Bu tâmirin gecikmesi ve âbidelerin kâmilen indirasını mucip olacağından evvelâ asker işgalinde bulunanların tahliyesinin ve kâffesinin mütehassıs zevat nezaretiyle tâmirinin temin buyurulmasını rica ederim.

C: Türkiye’de her yıl binlerce arkeolog mezun oluyor. Başka alanlarda kendilerine iş aramak üzere… Çünkü devlet arkeolog istihdamı yapmak yerine, ya arkeolojik sit alanlarında hiç kazı yapılmıyor, ya yabancı kazılar devam ediyor, ya da mevcut kazılarda öğrenciler ücretsiz değerlendiriliyor. Bu arada, ülkenin kültür hazineleri her geçen gün artan bir hızla yağmacılar tarafından çıkarılarak yurt dışına kaçırılıyor. Gazi Mustafa Kemal, durumun vehametine ve meselenin aciliyetine kendi zamanında dikkat çekmiş, nitekim çok sayıda arkeoloji müzesi açılmış. Ya sonda? Benzer sorunları halen yaşamaya devam ediyoruz.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s