The Blue Shield joins the international community in expressing its profound sadness about the recent earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria and the ever-increasing death toll. Our sympathy goes out to all of those affected and in particular those who have lost family and friends. At the moment, emphasis must be on helping those individuals and communities devastated by the earthquakes.
However, given the extent of the damage across the region, we must expect significant damage to and destruction of heritage sites, monuments, buildings, and collections. We must therefore also begin to ascertain the impact on heritage, and we are receiving a growing number of reports of significant damage to all types of heritage of international, national, and local importance. We are coordinating with our national committee in Türkiye and with Syrian colleagues relating to damage done to heritage in both countries, and we commend their dedication in this devastating situation. In line with our mandate, the Blue Shield stands ready to support the protection of cultural heritage in crises such as this.
Professor Peter G Stone OBE FSA MCIfA
President, The Blue Shield
UNESCO Chair in Cultural Property Protection and Peace, Newcastle University