La question de la restitution des oeuvres d’art se maintient dans l’actualité turque

Par  pensionnaire scientifique à l’Institut français d’études anatoliennes, Istanbul.

 

« Il est trois domaines qui ne souffrent pas de la crise économique : les trafics d’arme, de drogue et d’œuvres culturelles », c’est ainsi que débute le dernier éditorial (27/11/2012, en turc) d’Özgen Acar sur lequel nous rebondissons. La Turquie, dont l’héritage culturel est proverbial, souffre particulièrement de ce dernier type de trafic. Au durcissement de l’arsenal répressif, s’ajoute la multiplication de demandes de restitutions, de la part des autorités turques, d’œuvres aujourd’hui exposées dans divers musées internationaux. Ces requêtes sont à l’origine de nombreuses tensions dont les répercussions se font sentir à tous les niveaux de la coopération internationale.

 

La politique de demande de restitution des objets archéologiques menée par la Turquie alarme les musées.

Seeking Return of Art, Turkey Jolts Museums

Ayman Oghanna for The New York Times

Visitors at the Archaeology Museum in Istanbul with the Alexander Sarcophagus, which was dug up in Ottoman times.

By
Published: September 30, 2012

La nouvelle politique en archéologie du Ministère turc de la Culture et du Tourisme

« A tendency to use power over excavators » –
Archaeology in Turkey

Interview with Dr Edhem Eldem

Dr Edhem Eldem is a renowned Turkish historian who teaches at the Department of History at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul. His research focus lies on the late Ottoman social and economic history, intellectual biographies and the history of archaeology. A few weeks ago he published an article in the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on the present situation for archaeologists in Turkey. We asked Dr Edhem Eldem some further questions on this topic.

Zoom

Dr Edhem Eldem, Department of History, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul

« A tendency to use power over excavators as a means of retaliation »

L.I.S.A.: Dr. Eldem, a few weeks ago you have published an article in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The topic: politicians – in this case in Turkey – misuse treasures of antiquity for their own benefit, with serious consequences for the academic discipline Archaeology and for archaeologists. You refer especially to foreign, non-turkish campaigns. What kind of consequences do you mean? What is the real problem?

 

Dr. Eldem: Behind my desire to write this article were two ‘burning’ issues concerning archaeology and politics in Turkey. First, a marked tendency of the government to take away excavation permits from foreign teams or, at least, to threaten to do so; second, a systematic refusal, again by the government, to lend objects to museums holding, or said to be holding, objects that had been illegally taken from the Turkish territory. At first glance, these two issues do not need to be necessarily taken as a form of abuse on behalf of the government. After all, ever since Ottoman times, the government has been legally granted the authority to deliver permits to excavators, foreign and domestic alike; in that sense, it is within the government’s power and duties to see to it that these permits are delivered properly and that their legal and scientific requirements are properly met. Moreover, it is also true that there is an impressive number of objects and artifacts that have been removed from Ottoman, and then Turkish, soil as a result of clandestine digs and outright smuggling. From this perspective, too, it falls within the prerogatives and duties of the government to do its best to prevent such occurrences in the future and to obtain restitution for those objects that have been traced to private and public collections abroad.

 

8.30.2012 Une sculpture humaine extraordinaire découverte en Turquie

Une sculpture humaine colossale est l’un des derniers trésors culturels exhumés par l’équipe internationale du projet archéologique Tayinat (TAP).
Ce chantier de fouilles se trouve en Turquie du sud-est.

 La tête et le torse de la figure humaine, intacte juste au-dessus de sa taille, mesurent environ 1,5 mètres de hauteur, ce qui suggère une longueur totale du corps de 3,5 à 4 mètres.