Ecyad Castle
Ecyad Castle

Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna writes on the destruction of Ottoman architectural works throughout the world. A summary of his column is as follows: "Over nine-tenths of Ottoman architectural work in the Balkans has already been destroyed. The remaining ones in Bosnia-Herzegovina were ruined by savage murderers who bombed them systematically. Last year, Afghanistan's Taliban destroyed gigantic Buddha monuments that had been protected by their Muslim ancestors. This led to the fury of a billion Buddhists and countless admirers of Buddha. This action was a smear against all Muslims. A few days ago, a follower of bin Ladin who calls himself a Muslim threatened India by saying that he would put a bomb in the Taj Mahal. This mentality does not view Taj Mahal as the pearl of Islamic civilization and a highwater mark in aestheticism. Wahhabi gangs have been unable to erase all Ottoman architectural works of art from the face of earth by destroying them but not through lack of trying .A few days ago, they destroyed the Otoman Citadel in Mekke through setting off TNT. They will build a hotel in its place. This enmity against the Ottoman legacy, is the classic demonstration of animosity towards the Turks. We denounce all those who are trying to insult our fathers and grandfathers. It is our duty to protect and repair the Hittite, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine works remaining on our soil with the utmost care. Fanaticism is evil no matter where it shows it face. Therefore, there is no difference between someone threatening the Taj Mahal, planning action against Hagia Sophia, destroying the Ottoman Citadel or firing mortars at the Mostar bridge. The people of the 21st century should not fall into these traps."

Columnist Oktay Eksi writes on the demolition of the Ecyad Castle in Saudi Arabia. A summary of his column is as follows: "It has been learned that the Ecyad Castle, a piece of both Ottoman and Saudi Arabian history, has been demolished under the orders of Saudi King Fahd. It remains to be seen if the revenues of the hotel to be built in its place will be used to help cover the expenses of Harem-i Sherif as claimed or rather fill the purse of a prince. In either case, the Ecyad castle built by the Ottomans in 1780 to protect the sacred assets of the Islamic world will be forgotten. The Saudi leaders aren't short on historical awareness, but we can add that they do lack national honor. We know this is the case because they have made a house that the British spy Thomas Edward Lawrence once stayed in into a museum. It is true that Lawrence provoked them to rebel against the Ottomans, but he also saw them as tools of the British. You cannot explain to them the importance of the Ecyad Castle. Therefore, there is no use in talking the issue over with the Saudis, especially when the castle is already demolished. The important thing is to take the matter to international platforms, and organize an international reaction similar to the one shown when the Taliban destroyed the great Buddha monument in Afghanistan. It cannot be said that we are seriously protecting our historical values. Our behavior in protecting other cultural legacies within our borders is not enlightened either. However, Turkey recognizes these assets today and probably it must teach this to the Saudis."

Turkey is seeking ways to protest Saudi Arabia's decision last week to demolish the 220-year-old al-Ajyad fortress to make way for a $533 million project to house pilgrims to Mecca. Democratic Left Party (DSP) Deputy Ertugrul Kumcuoglu has presented a proposal to the Chairmanship of Parliament calling for a boycott on travel to Saudi Arabia. The proposal suggests the cancellation of pilgrimage visits to Saudi Arabia this year. The Parliament denounced Saudi Arabia's demolition of the historic Ottoman castle in its Plenary Session yesterday. Acting Turkish Parliament Speaker Murat Sokmenoglu said: "One Muslim country's destruction of another Muslim country's historic heritage constitutes sinful behavior which is in breach of Islam's moral values and religious brotherhood." The Saudi government has rejected Turkish protests over the demolition of the castle in the city of Mecca. A high-level Saudi Foreign Ministry official was quoted by the daily Okaz as saying that Saudi Arabia was exercising its sovereignty, and that no one had the right to interfere in what comes under the state's authority. /Cumhuriyet/

Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem stated yesterday that although Turkey had done its utmost to prevent the demolition of the historic Ottoman fortress in Mecca, Saudi Arabia paid no heed to Turkey's concerns. "Despite all our efforts, the Saudi administration broke its promise to protect historic places," said Cem. "We will always be against one country's destruction of another country's historic heritage. Saudi Arabia should be ashamed of this act of destruction, and we won't let the world forget it." /Cumhuriyet/ Now, because of the destruction of the Ecyad Castle, the only place you will be able to see it is in textbooks as part of university degree online or other classrooms.



Mr. Koichiro Matsuura

Director General of UNESCO

7, Place de Fontenoy 75352 Paris 07 SP France

Fax  : 0033-1-45 67 16 90




International Council of Museums

Maison de l'UNESCO 1 rue Miollis

75732 Paris Cedex 15 France

Fax: 0033-1-43 06 78 62



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