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Turkish Man Accidentally Saves 2 Historic Roman Pillars | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Entrance to Antalya Museum

Ankara- The Turkish authorities have moved two 2,000-year-old granite columns dating back to the Roman era to Antalya’s Museum, after a local used them as an apartment building decoration for more than 23 years.

This step came after the Turkish media highlighted the historical significance of these two pillars and the neglect that led them to stand as building decorations, which triggered a large debate on social media websites.

Antalya Museum Director Mustafa Demirel said he personally supervised the statues’ move to the museum, noting that the necessary restoration works will be made, before placing the pillars in the museum garden for exhibition.

Controversy was stirred in Antalya after a local named Mustafa Aydemir first found the columns in Antalya’s historic Kaleiçi district and later moved them to where his apartment is located in the Şirinyalı neighborhood of Muratpaşa district.

He headed to Antalya Museum Directorate and had the permission to keep the pillars under the condition of protecting them. Then, he placed them in his three-floor house’s garden.

Aydemir told Turkish media: “We have protected the artifacts for many years in our house’s garden, but over the years they have fallen into ruin. Therefore, we have notified this to the museum. Twenty-three years ago, with a legislative regulation of the government, we had taken the columns from our garden and placed them in front of our house.”

The incident made headlines when a retired art history teacher named Ertekin Kaya noticed the columns in front of Aydemir’s apartment and reported it on his social media account alongside a photo.

He called on the government to intervene and protect this monument, and contacted the Antalya Museum Directorate and the Culture and Tourism Ministry filing a complaint.

The former art history teacher then received a formal letter from the general directorate of cultural heritage and museums on the issue, saying: “We have ordered the transfer of the artifacts in Kaleiçi to the Antalya Museum Directorate.”