Turkish president Erdoğan will make an official visit to Washington, D.C. today (19 September). According to Ömer Çelik, spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdoğan will visit the UN headquarters in New York and present a copy of the Göbeklitepe obelisk to the UN General Assembly.
Çelik said at a press conference a few days ago that the historical sites show the importance of Anatolia as a great centre for humanity. “A reduced copy of the Göbeklitepe obelisk will be permanently displayed in the UN garden,” he said.
However, according to Ömer Öcalan, People’s Democratic Party (HDP) MP for Urfa (Riha), where the archeological site is located, Çelik’s statements about the history of the site are misleading.
Göbeklitepe (Girê Mirazan in Kurdish), is a Neolithic archaeological site near the city of Urfa, which is in southeast Turkey, North Kurdistan (Bakurê) to the locals.
In 1995, a few years into their research and work with the Urfa Museum, German archaeologists headed by Klaus Schmidt found large amounts of ruins in Göbeklitepe dating back to the stone age. Göbeklitepe, which has a 12,000 year history, is also the oldest centre of engineering in the world. This first temple in human history has great stone stanchions. It indicates that people settled in the region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers thousands of years ago.
Ömer Öcalan, who spoke to Hawar News (ANHA), believes that the oppression and assimilation policies of Turkey towards the Kurds are exemplified in Göbeklitepe, as no official from the government ever mentions the true history of the site.
“Our Kurdish ancestors settled on the banks of the Euphrates River in this region thousands of years ago. The discovery of Göbeklitepe opened new horizons in the research of human history. The Kurds played an important role in this historic place of settlement. Everyone needs to accept this reality,” he says.
Talking about the policies of Turkey towards historical places in the Kurdish regions, Ömer Öcalan said, “[Turkey] destroys everything Kurdish.” He gave the example of Hasankeyf, an ancient town in Turkey’s south-eastern province of Batman (Êlih) that was engulfed by a reservoir in a controversial hydroelectric dam project in 2019.
“The historic town of Hasankeyf (dating back 11,000 years) was submerged by water. This is cultural genocide, an effort to destroy Kurdish heritage. Turkey is using these policies to change the reality of the history of the Middle East and the leading role of Kurdistan.”
According to the German Archaeological Institute (DAI), it has only been possible so far to research a very small part of Göbeklitepe, because Turkey has restricted excavations in the last ten years , and every year hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the site.