UNESCO urges Turkey to determine dates for evaluation in Sur

The World Heritage Committee has asked the Turkish government to inform it on possible dates for the mission to evaluate the world heritage areas in the Sur district, pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya News Agency (MA) reported on Friday.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s committee released a report on June 7, prior to its 43rd session that will take place between June 30 and July 10.

Thousands of buildings in Sur were damaged during conflicts between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Turkish security forces between December 2015 and March 2016.

More than 20,000 people in the district had to leave their homes due to damage to their properties.

The committee’s session will take place in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, where the World Heritage Committee will examine 35 nominations for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The report includes the committee’s analysis and conclusions about the Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape in southeastern Diyarbakir’s Sur district, which were added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 2015.

Underlining that the state of emergency in the Sur district has ended, the committee urged Turkey in the report to determine the dates for a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission in the districts’ heritage sites.

“In its report, the State Party [Turkey’s AK Party] provided information on the rehabilitation of Surici District including the Urban Conservation Plan and its Operational Plan, as well as the Urban Design Plan,” the report outlined.

Stating that it is “regrettable” that the reconstruction works have started before the mission has taken place, the report stressed that carrying out of the mission has become a matter of utmost urgency.

It said this is because “no details of the urban rehabilitation projects have been submitted by the Turkish government.”

It was also requested that all projects that could affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the sites be halted until the recommendations of the Reactive Monitoring mission are known and adopted by the Committee.

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