Nedzhmi Ali participated in the conference “Göbekli Tepe: the Land Where the Cultures Meet”

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On the 7th November Nedzhmi Ali (ALDE, Bulgaria) took part in the conference “Göbekli Tepe: the Land Where the Cultures Meet. From History to Gastronomy …”, organized by TUR & BO (the Brussels liaison office of Turkey´s research and business organisations) and the Permanent Representation of Turkey in Brussels. The opening of the conference also featured statements by Mr.Zeki Levent Gümrükçü, Ambassador of Turkey to the EU and Ismail Ertug, chairperson of the EP-Turkey Forum.

Below you can read the statement of Mr. Ali:

Göbekli Tepe, regarded as one of the oldest sites of archaeological ruins and one of the oldest temples in the world was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List on 1st of July 2018. It is an important cultural heritage for all the civilisations in the world as it is unique and oldest to be known architectural work.

Göbeklitepe could be regarded as one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 21st century. It dates back 12 thousand years ago. In other words, it’s 4 thousand years older than the pyramids and 7 thousand years older than the Stonehenge. Furthermore, it is even older than the human transition to settled life. Therefore, contrary to the widely held view, it proves existence of religious beliefs prior to the establishment of the first cities.

Findings of researchers at Göbeklitepe show that a religious class existed even at such early ages, division of society into social classes took place well before the widely assumed dates and perhaps the first agricultural activity may have been conducted in the region.

It is a Discovery that Changed the Human History

Since unearthing the monumental structures, Göbeklitepe attracted attention of the world, and many articles about it were published and many documentaries were produced. The BBC broadcasted a documentary and The Guardian and other newspapers published articles.

Archaeologists are still excavating Göbekli Tepe and debating its meaning. What they do know is that the site is the most significant in a volley of unexpected findings that have overturned earlier ideas about humankind’s deep past. Just 20 years ago most researchers believed they knew the time, place, and rough sequence of the Neolithic Revolution - the critical transition that resulted in the birth of agriculture, taking Homo sapiens from scattered groups of hunter-gatherers to farming villages. The next step from there was toward technologically sophisticated societies with great temples and castles, as well as kings and priests who directed the labour of their subjects and recorded their feats in written form. But in recent years multiple new discoveries, Göbekli Tepe preeminent among them, have begun forcing archaeologists to reconsider.

At first the Neolithic Revolution was viewed as a single event—a sudden flash of genius—that occurred in a single location, Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in what is now southern Iraq, then spread to India, Europe, and beyond. Most archaeologists believed this sudden blossoming of civilization was driven largely by environmental changes: a gradual warming as the Ice Age ended that allowed some people to begin cultivating plants and herding animals in abundance. The new research suggests that the “revolution” was actually carried out by many hands across a huge area and over thousands of years. And it may have been driven not by the environment but by something else entirely.

Of all the aspects of the revolution, agriculture was the most important. For thousands of years men and women with stone tools had wandered the landscape, cutting off heads of wild grain and taking them home. Even though these people may have tended and protected their grain patches, the plants they watched over were still wild.

True grain agriculture began only when people planted large new areas with mutated plants creating fields of domesticated wheat and barley that, so to speak, waited for farmers to harvest them.

This has been a very brief run through so many terms and so many research fields and historical eras. Understanding of this enormous heritage for all of us in this room has to still enter our thinking about how cultural heritage opens the area of inclusiveness.

As we know our host, the Brussels liaison office of Turkey´s research and business organisations, TUR & BO monitors the latest developments in the European Research Area and provides advice to their founding partners with an emphasis on developing strategic analysis in terms of Turkey´s participation in relevant EU programmes – Horizon 2020 and COSME.

While the role of these programmes in support of the humankind´s cultural heritage is indispensable, now preparing the new Multiannual financial framework of the EU for the period 2021-2027 we are trying to increase the respective financial resources. European Parliament in its resolutions insists the financing for Horizon Europe to be 120 billion EUR, a substantial increase in comparison with the current programme, as well as doubling the resources within COSME programme.

In conclusion, we can say that the passionate history of this discovery is still holding many surprises for us and that we can rethink the roots of our origins. We all are included in the consequences of the future research, which we support with whole heart from the European Parliament and from our hearts as Europeans and human beings.

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