Together with members of the press, a committee of authorities and experts from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism recently examined Göbeklitepe, where claims that "the historical structures were damaged" have been floating around.
The committee, under the leadership of Ministry of Culture and Tourism Deputy Secretary Mahmut Kocameşe, spoke to expert archaeologists about the ongoing works at Göbeklitepe, which has been deemed the "zero point of time."
Kocameşe noted that the archaeological excavations were carried out at the archaeological site and that the claims regarding the damage to historical structures were not true.
Lately there have been claims that "concrete was poured" in Göbeklitepe. Kocameşe stated that there is a meeting place about 1,000-1,300 meters and a ring road is being built for transportation to the actual excavation site.
This would be a pedestrian road and it is covered with felt on natural stones and "stabilized sand" is poured as protective material and it will be paved with natural cubic stones without any mortar, according to Kocameşe.
"This is an application to protect the road from sliding instead of using simple mortar. I have to also express that this road ends before the archaeological site. There is no possibility that this road extends inside of the archaeological site," he added.
He also informed that a cover coat was applied to the excavation site, which is included in a European Union Project worth 5 million euros and currently there is a wooden walk way that ends 100 meters before the excavation site, allowing pedestrian access to the site.
"Göbeklitepe dates back 12,000 years and is the world's oldest temple so far. There are many news and publications in the world regarding this area. Any work we perform here is under the inspection of our scientific committee, directorate of excavation, our preservation board and our Ministry. Every step of the project is under control. We follow scientific methods meticulously," he said.
"Currently, Göbeklitepe is included in UNESCO'S World Heritage Tentative List and application is filed for it to be included in the Permanent List and we hope that it will be included soon," Kocameşe added.
Members of the Science Consultancy and Coordination Commission led by late German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt, professor Dr. Necmi Karul and professor Dr. Gülriz Kozbe also attended the visit.
Karul noted that despite recent rumors in the media, they have not witnessed any concrete containing iron. According to Karul, sand was poured in between the borders and there was felt on the ground and this area was not connected to the archaeological site. "In such an area, it is preferred for a heavy machine to press it since the sand in the base would prevent pressure to a single point. So this is a protective application," added Karul.
Karul also informed that the excavation works actually started in 2014 with the approval of Şanlıurfa Preservation Board and it is a project which was submitted when Mr. Schmidt was in charge.
According to Karul, the project also involves roof and environment arrangement and the road was to be built at the last stage, which it is not.
He also noted that Göbeklitepe is being mentioned with such negative news is causing its importance in history to be forgotten and is an injustice to the historical site.
Meanwhile, Kozbe said that historical and archaeological sites should be accessible and the pedestrian road does not create any negative aspects; UNESCO also highlighted the importance of the site's accessibility.