Mardin Castle, which for decades has been reserved for military use under the control of the Ministry of Defense, will open for tourists, promised Turkey’s Prime Minister recently.
However, due to a stalemate between the Ministry of
Defense and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism over paying the costs of moving
the military unit, the opening has been delayed.
In March, control of the castle relocated to the Mardin
Governor's Office, but the military unit has still not been transferred because
the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism are in conflict
over moving expenses.
There were plans to strengthen the castle before it is
open to tourism, but this has not been possible while the military unit is
still stationed there.
A senior economy official who spoke to Today's Zaman on
condition of anonymity said residents of Mardin, plus tens of thousands of
tourists from different parts of the world, expect the castle to be open to the
“As well as caves, there is an underground city here. The
goal is to ensure the opening of the castle in 2014 after completing its
strengthening, but since the military unit has not yet moved, the whole process
is being stalled,” the official said.
Mardin Castle, which has hosted numerous kings and
sultans, was never conquered by other armies. The castle, situated at an
elevation of 1,085
meters, was known as the “Eagle's Nest,” with strategic
importance. The castle has been awaiting renovation for exactly 218 years.
Civilian entrepreneurs tried to restore the castle, which has
been serving the Weather Radar Command for the past 50 years, but their efforts
always met with bureaucratic obstacles.
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