A Turkish Visitor's Passion: Ancient Shipwrecks

Haberler / Duyurular
When Oguz Aydemir turned 50, he decided that work would no longer consume his life.

In 2001, he sold his shares in a successful packaging company in IstanbulTurkey, a business so demanding he sometimes slept in the factory, and moved to a house on 25 acres near Cesme on the Aegean Sea. There, he has an olive grove, lavender fields and a vineyard, making olive oil and wine that he gives to friends.

But Dr. Aydemir’s real passion is working with organizations that support underwater archaeology and the exploration of Turkey’s incredibly rich offshore treasures.

There are shipwrecks everywhere off the Turkish coastline.

“The shores of Turkey are so rich that within the reach of let’s say 60-70 meters [200-300 feet] you may find three or four shipwrecks from every century starting from the 16th century B.C. until today,” Dr. Aydemir told GlobalAtlanta during a recent visit to Atlanta. “The richness comes from the variety of shipwrecks. We’re talking about 3,600 years from the oldest until today.”

In 1999, Dr. Aydemir joined with a group of Turkish businessmen to start the Turkish Foundation for Underwater Archaeologywhich raises money for exploration. He is also on the board of directors of theInstitute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University, which has a research center inBodrum, Turkey. Robert Ballard, who led the team that discovered the Titanic wreckage in 1985, is also an institute board member.

Dr. Aydemir has strong Atlanta connections. His daughter lives here and his son is an Emory University graduate. Dr. Aydemir is also on the board of the American-Turkish Friendship Councilwhich was founded in 2005 by Mona Diamond, Turkey’s honorary consul general in Georgia. The non-profit organization is working to build a breast cancer clinic in Turkey.

Dr. Aydemir, who is working on the clinic project, would also like to bring an exhibit to Atlanta from the world’s oldest discovered shipwreck, the Uluburn, a vessel that sank in 1300 B.C. off the coast of Kas, Turkey. Artifacts recovered included gold cups, ceramics and ivory.

“It was a trading ship in the Mediterranean, stopping over in EgyptCyprusLebanon and most likely northern Greece,” said Dr. Aydemir.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York last year hosted an exhibit of artifacts from the wreckage. Dr. Aydemir made arrangements to have the exhibit brought to Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum after it left the Metropolitan. However, the Carlos Museum was hosting the King Tut exhibit at the Atlanta Civic Center and could not take on another show at the time. The artifacts are now back at the Museum of Underwater Archaeology in Bodrum.

“I hope we can bring it or some other interesting exhibits for another occasion somehow to Atlanta,” said Dr. Aydemir.

He would also like to see direct flights between Atlanta and Turkey. Dr. Aydemir believes a direct Atlanta-Istanbul flight would attract more passengers than Delta Air Lines Inc.’s flight between Atlanta and Athens, Greece.

“The Greek population is about 13 million,” he said. “Istanbul alone is 15 million. I think it would be the best idea to be able to have these flights as soon as possible.”

Dr. Aydemir, who holds a doctorate degree in European integration, also thinks Turkey should be a full member of the European Union. “Turkey belongs to Europe,” he said. “It has always been the policy of the Turks to be part of the Western world.”

Turkey, with its youthful work force, would help the European Union’s economy, said Dr. Aydemir.

“Europe is getting old,” he said. “Turkey is very young. It’s very energetic. It’s very promising.”

© 2013 Her hakkı saklıdır | oguzaydemir.com