Politics slow archaeologists in Turkey

tags: archaeology, Germany, Turkey, Der Spiegel, digs



It used to be easy for foreign archaeology teams to get excavation permits in Turkey. This year, though, dozens of scientists are still waiting for government permission even though the dig season has begun. Some suspect that politics and nationalism are in play.

On the surface, the mood is buoyant at the annual archaeology conference in southern Turkey. Eager academics, more than a few of them clad in khaki vests and breathable pants, engage in animated conversation as they network and discuss their pet projects. Outside, a warm sun is shining.

But looks are deceiving. For many of those present, the future is filled with uncertainty. The Turkish government in Ankara has still not granted annual permits to many of the excavations that the careers of the scientists present depend on. And there is concern that the reason for the delay has much more to do with the state of Turkey's relations with the West than with the merits of the projects in question....



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