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Call for World Leaders to Unite in Showing Their Support for the Oldest Monument Known to Mankind

DAVOS, Switzerland, January 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

 The Şahenk Initiative, founded by Ferit F. Şahenk, unveils $15m+ investment for Gӧbeklitepe at the World Economic Forum 

The Şahenk Initiative has today announced an investment of over $15m in Göbeklitepe, the oldest archaeological discovery in the world. Göbeklitepe's world launch took place yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, at a gala event hosted by Ferit F. Şahenk, Chairman of Doğuş Group.

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The 20-year investment by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Şahenk Initiative, will encompass the research and protection of the major early Neolithic site. The site has transformed our understanding of how human society first developed. The Şahenk Initiative, the main sponsor of the project, will support excavations to help to fully understand the significance of this historic location, re-design the tourist experience by building a world-class visitor centre, and encourage people from across the world to visit this iconic, yet under-explored destination.  

As part of the launch, the Şahenk Initiative unveiled an ice sculpture of Göbeklitepe in Davos, where world leaders were invited to attend and show their support. Speaking about the Göbeklitepe project, Ferit F. Şahenk, Chairman of Doğuş Group, said: 

"As global leaders of the world meet here in Davos, I want to encourage each and every one to leave their mark to inspire new generations.

"With this exact purpose we have started the Şahenk Initiative as a project to protect our past, build on today and invest in the future.  Along with the 'Stay in the Game' project that we implement as part of our 'Today', we are also launching important projects such as our 'Children's Science and Discovery Museum' and 'Children's Hospital' for the 'Future'. But today we are here for our 'Past'; Göbeklitepe - the precious treasure of Turkey.

"We have placed this Turkish treasure at the heart of the World Economic Forum because I want the whole world to know about it. Göbeklitepe, a common value of humanity, is our zero point in time.

Now, as we stand on the precipice of a fourth industrial revolution in a time of great global change, the time is right to collaborate once again."

The Şahenk Initiative is an international social impact organization that was established in 2014 by Ferit F. Şahenk to meaningfully impact lives in Turkey and across the world.

Abdullah Kocapınar, Cultural Heritage and Museums General Director at the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, said:

"As the main sponsor, the Şahenk Initiative will support the excavations and studies in Göbeklitepe, which are of great historical significance. Our collaboration is very precious; it is aimed at unveiling the value of this archaeological site, which is also important for the global community, and promoting it in the international arena."

"As Göbeklitepe is still being unearthed, our views about the history of settlement and civilization are ever-changing. This site, which is believed to be 7,000 years older than Stonehenge and 7,500 years older than the Pyramids, is also followed with curiosity by the global community."

"Recognized as an important element in helping our understanding of hunter-gatherers, the formation of religious sites, the emergence of temple architecture, the birth of art, to the transformation of agriculture and livestock breeding, the national and international projects of Göbeklitepe are a priority of the Ministry. Indeed, our Minister of Culture and Tourism Mahir Ünal, upon taking up his new position, has stressed that Göbeklitepe's preservation, a site for common values ​​of all humanity, is a priority."

"The preservation of our cultural heritage for future generations to enjoy and learn from, is one of the most important priorities of the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism. With the restoration of excavation sites and historical residential areas, landscaping and necessary security measures, we are opening up those that are deemed appropriate, for the public to visit."


Notes to editors: 

About Göbeklitepe:  

Göbeklitepe is an archaeological site at the top of a mountain ridge in the South-Eastern Anatolia Region of Turkey, approximately 12 km (7 miles) northeast of the city of  Şanlıurfa (Urfa). This location, known as the "Fertile Crescent" with burgeoning Tigris and Euphrates rivers, is a part of Mesopotamia. This Fertile Crescent is the location for the first city in history, the starting point of writing and the seed of civilization. Göbeklitepe, as the oldest known monument built by man, goes beyond these 'firsts' as a 'zero point in time'. 

The temple-like structures consist of T-shaped pillars carved with the images of wild animals. Until his death in 2014, Dr Schmidt was able to uncover six of these structures that were built on top of each other, in a time period that exceeds 1,000 years. Currently, there is a small visitor centre at the site where excavations led by the director of Şanlıurfa Museum, Müslüm Ercan and Lee Clare from German Archaeological Institute, still continue. 

SOURCE Göbeklitepe

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