Georgia, Turkey agree on restoration of historical monuments
Under an agreement signed by the Georgian and Turkish Culture Ministers, the two countries are expected to cooperate in the theatre, cinema, literature and cultural heritage issues in 2017-2021.
One of the most important agreements, reached by the parties, deals with the issue of cultural monuments. Under the document, the parties should set up a joint working group that will approve an ‘Action Plan’. After examination of some monuments, the renovation process will be launched.
Under the agreement, the parties undertake to restore the Ottoman cultural heritage monuments in Georgia and the Georgian cultural monuments in the territory of Turkey.
According to the Georgian Culture Ministry, the bilateral cooperation in the culture sphere comprises several phases:
Phase 1 implies selection of the cultural heritage monuments that require timely restoration so as to avoid their further dilapidation or collapse, as well as monument assessment based on the methodological principles and standards set by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
Phase 2 provides for the selection of cultural heritage monuments that require rehabilitation in order to improve their conservation condition. Some corrective measures should be determined in respect of cultural heritage monuments that were rehabilitated before signing the program and the parties have certain remarks with regard to the quality of the performed works.
Phase 3 implies registration of cultural heritage monuments within the scope of the parties’ competence.
Representatives of the two countries also agreed to give each other access to information and documents preserved in each country’s national archives and provide each other with copies thereof. The matter concerns photo materials, engravings and maps.
Various Georgian architectural monuments are located in the historical region of Tao-Klarjeti, present-day Turkey, including: Khakhuli, Oshki, Parkhali, Bana, Khandzta, Otkhta, Shatberdi, Tbeti etc.
In the past, the Georgian government managed to reach an agreement with Turkey on restoration of two of them, Oshki and Ishkhani. However, the public have insisted that the Georgian government should engage in talks with Turkey on the preservation of other cultural monuments too. A special group ‘Save Tao-Klarjeti Georgian monuments’ has been set up for that purpose on social media.