Treasure hunters destroy Urartian temple in Turkey
Illegal treasure hunters destroyed a historical Urartian temple in search of gold and other spoils in Turkey’s southeastern Van, Milliyet newspaper reported.
The looters tried to drill a 5m tall door-shaped niche more than two thousand years old in a sacred ancient area known as Yesilalic, 60km east of the city, the report said.
The niche, not an actual door, is a typical example of Urartian culture of carving the rocks in an imagination of creating a gate to reach the deities. Local legends call the niche a “treasure door” and people still believe in the area that the door will someday open, archeologists say.
Treasure hunters in Turkey regularly dig and ravage churches, graveyards and any other place they deem worthy in search of plundering Greek and Armenian gold that could be left behind by the non-muslim communites who were forced to leave their homes in a rush during an after the first world war.
Critics blame the Turkish government of willfully neglecting the sacred sites of indigenous communities and allowing massive looting.