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Today's Zaman

Placido Domingo calls on Erdoğan to save Allianoi

8 January 2011, Saturday /TODAY’S ZAMAN
Internationally acclaimed Spanish tenor Placido Domingo has urged Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to save the ancient city of Allianoi, which faces the threat of being submerged.

Domingo, who is also president of Europa Nostra, a pan-European federation of civil society organizations aimed at preserving cultural heritage across the continent, recently sent a letter to Erdoğan asking him to prevent a cultural tragedy by stopping the city from being submerged. “There are many of us who strongly believe that saving the ancient city of Allianoi would bring lasting and sustainable benefits to the local population in Turkey,” Domingo said in his letter.

The possibility of the ancient city being destroyed by a dam remains a contentious issue in Turkey. The world’s oldest known spa settlement, Allianoi has been completely covered with sand. It sits inside an area that is expected to be submerged by the dam’s reservoir, the construction of which was recently completed. The dam is not yet fully operational due to the ongoing debate regarding the preservation of Allianoi’s ruins, which will be inundated and destroyed if the dam is put into use.

“An irrigation dam would indeed help some people working in the agricultural sector, but only for a limited time. In contrast, saving this ancient treasure would enrich us all, the people of Turkey as well as other Europeans, for generations to come,” Domingo explained in his letter. He also pointed out that the site can bring in revenue for the tourism sector.

“Every effort should therefore be invested in preserving places -- such as Allianoi -- that connect us with previous generations and which we, in our turn, have the responsibility to transmit to future generations,” he added.

Domingo finished the letter by saying that Europa Nostra is ready to assist the Turkish government in its efforts to find a solution for Allianoi. The artist also called on all European citizens to write to Erdoğan at Başbakan Erdoğan, Posta Kutusu 06573 Bakanlıklar -- Ankara or to the e-mail address bimer@basbakanlik.gov.tr to voice their concerns about the future of the ancient city.

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