ONE association to lobby UNESCO for Turkish historical assets

3/1/15 .-

ONE association to lobby UNESCO for Turkish historical assets

Established for the protection and international promotion of Turkey’s cultural and historical assets, ONE Association’s first target is to get the famous Göbeklitepe archeological site onto UNESCO’s world heritage list

“When I became a member of Venetian Heritage, a nonprofit organization to protect the heritage of the city, I was able to witness their work. I was very impressed by their work both in Italy and in America. I thought Istanbul and Turkey deserve similar protection and promotion,” said Demet Sabancı Çetindoğan a prominent businesswoman, explaining what inspired her to found ONE Association.

Çetindoğan was lucky since she was able to set to the road with like-minded friends and acquaintances that shared her ideas. She recruited İlber Ortaylı, one of Turkey’s most prominent historians, as well as other prominent figures like Çiğdem Simavi, Sevda Elgiz, Serpil Ayaslı; all very familiar with international and cultural promotion.

As is the case with other formations set within other historical cities of the world, ONE has been first and foremost established to protect and promote the cultural assets of Turkey’s historical cities.

What makes ONE differ from the other associations is that most of them are dedicated for the national promotion of historical assets, according to Çetindoğan, who is currently the chairperson of the association.

“We deal with this issue on a global scale. We see these assets as the world’s common heritage. This is not just a tourism or culture project, or a matter of promotion. We also see it as a matter of awareness.

The association’s first project is to get the famous Göbeklitepe archeological site on UNESCO’s world heritage list. Despite its historical richness, only a dozen assets from Turkey are included on the UNESCO world heritage list in comparison to 49 from Italy, 45 from China and 44 from Spain. This was also a motivating factor for Çetindoğan to found the association.

On Jan. 21, the association will organize an event in Paris to host UNESCO permanent representatives, as well as the representatives of the media where Professor Ortaylı will give a briefing about the Göbeklitepe site. The decision will be made in 2016. In the meantime, ONE will also lobby to keep Istanbul on the world heritage list. Large infrastructure works undertaken by the government have created concerned in UNESCO, which has been warning Turkey that Istanbul could be excluded from the list.

“It is not only important to get onto the list, but it is also important to stay there,” said Çetindoğan.
It is important to have this type of association since it requires working with the government and local administrations, which in turns provide an opportunity for dialogue where policies that could be harmful to the country’s historical assets could be discussed, according to Çetindoğan.

ONE is an acronym that stands “Old, New, Eternal,” whereas in Turkish, it stands for “Ortak Nesiller Entegrasyonu,” the “Integration of Joint Generations.”

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