Turkish president opens exhibition in Brussels without biblical artefact

Turkish president opens exhibition in Brussels without biblical artefact

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan arrived today in Brussels to open EUROPALIA, a major international arts festival. The festival is held every two years to celebrate the cultural heritage of one invited country. This time the focus is on Turkey. During his visit in Brussels, Erdoğan will also hold political talks with EU leaders on the migration crisis and Turkey´s EU application.

Turkey is often called the cradle of civilization. “Since the earliest prehistoric times, Anatolia has served as a bridge between Europe and Asia. Few other countries have known such a large number of civilizations succeed one another or exist side by side. Down the centuries this has fuelled intercultural cross-fertilization”, EUROPALIA writes on its website.

Among others “exceptional masterpieces from the greatest Turkish museums” will be shown at the Centre for Fine Arts, Rue Ravenstein, from October 2015  until the end of January 2016.

However, one rare archaelogical artefact will be missing and can only be found at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. It is the Siloam inscription which was taken from Jerusalem in the late 19th century when the city was under Ottoman rule.

This inscription in Hebrew records the construction of a 533 m long water tunnel in Siloam, Jerusalem, during the reign of King Hezekia of Judah in the 8th century BCE. It tells the story of how two teams of workers who started at both ends of the tunnel met underground.

Until now Turkey has refused to return the Siloam inscription to Jerusalem, where it belongs, claiming that it is Ottoman imperial “property” inherited by the Turkish republic.

The Brussels Times 

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