No: 195, 5 July 2015, Press Release Regarding the Inscription of Ephesus, Diyarbakır Fortress and Hevsel Gardens on the UNESCO World Heritage List

Nominations of “Ephesus” and “Diyarbakır Fortress and Hevsel Gardens” of Turkey, which was elected to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee in November 2013 in the first rank with a vote of 121, thus receiving the highest vote in the history of UNESCO elections, have been unanimously adopted at the 39th Session of the World Heritage Committee, which is still continuing in Bonn and these two new sites have been now inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

As a result, with the addition of Ephesus and Diyarbakır, the number of sites of Turkey inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List has increased from thirteen to fifteen in 2015, which marks the thirtieth anniversary of the inscription of the Historic Peninsula of Istanbul, the first site from Turkey added on the World Heritage List.

Ephesus, home to the Temple of Artemis, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and the House of the Virgin Mary in Selcuk, which has been a religious center for centuries, is a unique cultural heritage site displaying the diversity of Anatolian civilizations as well as an important place of pilgrimage embodying vividly the intercultural dialogue through hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

Diyarbakır Fortress, on the other hand, is a cultural property of outstanding universal value which registers the intertwined civilizations in Anatolia in its inscriptions written in the Hellenic, Latin, Syriac, Armenian and Arabic languages, in addition to being an important defense structure, dating back to 3000 bc. As for the Hevsel Gardens, which has been associated with the Fortress for thousands of years, is an important natural site which has met the food need of the city since the times of Assyrians until today.

Turkey considers its membership to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee as an important gain on the path toward reinforcing the consciousness for protection of its cultural heritage, training new experts and spreading awareness in this field. Turkey will continue to use its soft power effectively in the cultural field at UNESCO in an effort to bringing together today's world within the common values of humanity.