World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located
“Building Peace in the Minds of Men and Women”
Although some countries declare that specific cultural heritage belongs to them, the notion of “cultural heritage” in itself already suggests that it came into existence as a result of the idea of the “universal” value of human development. To address this point, UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) was founded with a mission to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, to protect universal cultural value, to prevent the annihilation of cultural properties and to “build peace in the minds of men”. In time, being able to own and pass the heritage of the past on to future generations became the main goal of many countries. Turkey is one of these countries.
In recent years, Turkey’s position on the Tentative List has gained importance rapidly, and shows some inconsistencies related to its position on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The history of participating in the World Cultural Heritage List, which began with the Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği in 1984 and Hattuşa in 1985, continued with the Selimiye Mosque Complex and the Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük in 2012. With the inclusion of the Selimiye Mosque and the Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük, the number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in Turkey rose to 11. Also, Turkey has thirty seven cultural properties submitted on the Tentative List.
Turkey, with its cultural variety which is increasing through history, has an important structural group of monumental buildings, ranging from caves to the first temple of the world, from city walls to castles, towers to obelisks, churches to mosques, madrasahs, hospitals, hans and baths, fountains, tombs and mausoleums, palaces, mansions and waterside residences. This multi-coloured cultural mosaic, which bears the traces of every level of history, deserves to be called a “super power” of cultural heritage by UNESCO.
Turkey’s archaeological and cultural sites will both enrich the historical knowledge of the world, and advance its representation on an international stage such as UNESCO. Therefore, in light of their importance, the ability to protect and maintain these areas will continue to be maintained according to international standards.
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