Turkish Week activities kick off in Georgian capital

TBILISI, Georgia

A week of Turkish activities kicked off on Wednesday in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

The activities, arranged by the Ankara-based Yunus Emre Institute (YEE), started at the Georgian National Museum with a conference and photography exhibition dedicated to the 12,000-year-old Gobeklitepe — an archeological excavation site — located in Turkey’s southeastern Sanliurfa province, and will continue until Nov. 9.

The opening ceremony was attended by Davit Lortkipanidze, general manager of the Georgian National Museum, Onur Sevim, undersecretary of Turkey’s embassy in Tbilisi, YEE Tbilisi Coordinator Ali Oguzhan Yuksel and Celal Uludag, director of the Sanliurfa Museum and head of excavation at Gobeklitepe site.

In his speech at the conference, Lortkipanidze said the Georgian National Museum has cooperated with Turkey for many years.

He stressed that organizing such an event in Tbilisi would bring these relations to a higher level, adding that Gobeklitepe was a very important heritage site for the world.

Sevim, for his part, also underlined the cultural importance of Gobeklitepe.

Uludag went on to inform participants about Gobeklitepe, which he said was “one of the oldest temples ever found, according to scientific research”.

Gobeklitepe was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in June 2018, and is recognized as the oldest temple in the world by many international organizations. It was discovered in 1963 by researchers from the universities of Istanbul and Chicago. Since then, excavations have been ongoing.

The German Archaeological Institute and Sanliurfa Museum have been carrying out joint excavations at the site since 1995. They found T-shaped obelisks from the Neolithic era towering 10-20 feet (3-6 meters) high and weighing 40-60 tons.

During excavations, various historical artifacts, including a 26-inch (65 centimeters) human statue dating back 12,000 years, have also been discovered.

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