Europa Nostra establishes solidarity bridge following catastrophic earthquakes in Turkey and Syria

On 6 February 2023, catastrophic earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria, causing widespread destruction and displacement. In response, Europa Nostra conducted an online meeting on 21 February to establish a solidarity bridge with colleagues from Europa Nostra Turkey and the Arab Network of Civil Society Organisations to Safeguard Cultural Heritage in the affected regions. The meeting aimed at exploring ways in which Europa Nostra could collaborate with colleagues and stakeholders to safeguard tangible and intangible heritage assets in the earthquake region.

Due to ongoing aftershocks, many buildings in the region continue to collapse, causing thousands of people to lose their homes, as well as important cultural sites and monuments. The earthquake has damaged tangible and intangible cultural heritage in an area which is home to many different beliefs and cultures and has affected a significant part of the Mesopotamian region.

The meeting began with words of solidarity and emphasised the crucial value of the damaged heritage assets, which belong to different cultural groups and communities inhabiting the region. As many people have been displaced and have migrated to other, safer areas in this emergency period, the general conclusion of the meeting was that the cultural diversity of the region is now at risk. The meeting participants discussed actions that could be taken to prevent out-migration from the region and to therefore prevent cultural desertification, ensuring the continuity of daily activities in the region that produce intangible and tangible heritage.

The participants discussed the kind of cooperation that should be provided to ensure a transparent process and emphasised that decisions regarding the restoration of built heritage in the affected regions should be given adequate time, so that proper and appropriate interventions can be arranged.

Europa Nostra stands in solidarity with its colleagues in Turkey and Syria and is committed to working with them to preserve the rich cultural heritage of the affected regions.

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