Archaeologists worry about loss of 2,000 years of history
Both volunteers and environmentalists have taken action against a likelihood of the 1,800-year-old ancient city of Allianoi being flooded by the Yortanlı Dam, of which construction continues. Environmentalists warn that the city will be flooded in November if no measures are taken.
Villagers from the surrounding areas of this ancient city located in Izmir's Bergama district and those who earn their living from agriculture dependent on the city are in a dilemma. On the one hand, the residents are happy about the water that their village will be supplied with thanks to the dam, but, on the other hand, they are upset that the historic town will be flooded.
Everyone in the region extends their support to the campaign, “Don't let Allianoi be Flooded,” launched by environmentalist members of the “Allianoi Initiative Group.” Indeed, the group is still seeking both national and international support to save the ancient city.
Lawyer Arif Ali Cangı, spokesman for the Allianoi Initiative Group, said the ancient city was declared a first grade archaeological site in 2001 by the Izmir Board to Protect Cultural and Natural Sites.
Stipulating that the ancient city cannot be ruined in any way, Cangı said this is not true in practice. "We heard the Culture and Tourism Ministry recommend that the State Waterworks Authority (DSİ) coat the area [with clay] to protect it and the DSİ accepted this. Such a coating can inflict further damage.”
Cangı said water would begin to accumulate behind the Yortanlı Dam in November and added there was little time to avoid any mistakes, stressing that if the city is coated with clay, its archaeological integrity could be harmed.
(Source: Turkish Daily News)