In response to concerns around damage to the cultural heritage following the earthquakes impacting Southeastern Türkiye and Syria on 6 February 2023, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Türkiye has released a statement in Turkish. The BIAA provides the following unofficial translation:
“Following the 06.02.2023 earthquake affecting 10 provinces in Türkiye, our Ministry is carrying out necessary operational work firstly to secure the health and safety of our personnel, ensure the security of museums and archaeological sites, and assess the conditions of the museum buildings and protect cultural assets.
The Museums located in Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Kilis, Osmaniye, Diyarbakır and Adana have not suffered any damage. Kahramanmaraş, Elbistan, Adıyaman and Malatya Museums have not been damaged apart from small cracks. No serious damage to our museum collections has been verified.
Additionally, taking into consideration the threat posed by the unstable conditions of the surrounding buildings, the moveable collections of the Kahramanmaraş Museum have been transferred to a secure museum.
It has emerged that a part of Hatay Archaeology Museum has been damaged. In accordance with the emergency action plans we have directed personnel to this museum in a quick and comprehensive manner. In order to avoid risks to security due to electricity cuts, solar-powered security camera systems have been established at our museum.
It is observed that slight shifts in the mudbrick walls of the Malatya Arslantepe, one of our World Heritage Sites, have been found and some parts of the temporary protective shelter have collapsed, however this has not resulted in serious damage to the site.
A limited section of the Diyarbakır city walls, as well as small parts of the entrance of the St.George’s Church, located within the city walls of Diyarbakır, have fallen down. No negative impact has been recorded on other world heritage sites like Şanlıurfa Göbeklitepe and Adıyaman Nemrut Dağı.
The preparation of detailed reports regarding the damage on all the listed historical monuments and museums, whether belonging to the Ministry or not, in the aforementioned cities, particularly Gaziantep Castle and Malatya New Mosque, is continuing.
The support of security and expert personnel from our other museums to the earthquake zone has been ensured and continues without interruption in accordance with needs. Currently, all our museums and archaeological sites are secure and under control. From the first moment, all of our organisation is in the field to support our personnel affected by the earthquake and working in our headquarters with great effort and exemplary solidarity.
We wish mercy on all our colleagues and citizens who lost their lives and a speedy recovery to those who were injured.”