Comparison of Cultural Heritage Management in Turkey and Egypt

Turkey and Egypt have affluent cultural heritage properties which are
seen as essential elements of the tourism supply for both countries. The
management approach of nations for these properties changes according
to many things, i.e. cultural background, political view, prosperity level.
Notwithstanding, it is possible to make comparisons of two countries’
approach with the help of some basic factors. In this study, the
comparison of cultural heritage management in Turkey and Egypt is presented according to various criteria indicating the legal, organizational,
and governance differences and similarities.

Current situation of the world heritage properties in both countries;
although Egypt signed on the world heritage convention for the protection
of cultural and natural sites 10 years before Turkey did, it seems that
Turkey is going in a more progressive way concerning the WHL.
As it appears from the comparative study, the ICOMOS National
Committee in Egypt is still under construction, although ICOMOS Turkey
National Committee was established in 1974 and it operates within the
framework of international practices. Regarding the world heritage list
and the tentative list in both countries, many of properties are
archaeological sites, although both countries have many exceptional natural and mixed sites that could potentially be inscribed in the world
heritage list.
Egypt has very rich cultural and natural heritage sites but only 7
heritage sites are inscribed in WHL which is unparalleled with the
richness of Egypt. On the other hand, Turkey has 17 heritage sites
inscribed in UNESCO list. Furthermore, the number of Turkish heritage
sites inscribed in WHL is increasing each year, the last Turkish heritage
site was inscribed in 2017, while the last Egyptian heritage site was
included in WHL in 2005, and it seems that Turkey is actively working
more than Egypt. With regard to the year of the inscription, it is obvious
that five of Egyptian heritage sites inscribed in 1979 and from this year till
2005 Egypt did not submit nomination proposals for any property. In
other words, Egypt seems to lose its motivation to inscribe its heritage
properties to WHS since 2005.
Additionally, Turkey is trying to prepare the nominated sites to meet the criteria for inscription with continuous, stable and, more progressive ways.
Regarding the evaluation of current situation in cultural heritage
sites in Turkey and Egypt; it is clearly shown that the cultural heritage
sites in both countries are suffering from continuous threats. These threats
can be divided into two main categories. Firstly, general threats which are
facing all sites and related to the national system of WHS management.
Secondly, the threats which are related to particular heritage sites. These
threats can be categorized into high risky threats as management
deficiencies, large-scale development projects and others might be called
common threats like; shortage in the legal framework, looting, lack of
conservation, threats to authenticity, environmental pressure,
unrestrained visitation, lack of financial and human resources. Similarities
about the threats on the cultural heritage sites are observed in both
Management plan approach; the findings have clarified that there is
a lack of management plan for heritage sites in both countries. In fact, the
situation in Egypt is worse than Turkey as most of the existing
management plans are only “papers plans” without effective actions and
sometimes the plans do not follow the time frame so it results in many
delays in implementation. It is obvious that there is a lack in visitor
management programs and visitor centers in both countries, especially for
the heritage sites that are not included in UNESCO list. Hence, there is a
necessity for both countries to conduct new policies and approaches
particularly for visitor and resource management.  Additionally, it is observed that there is a lack of local community
involvement in heritage management in Egypt. Some development
projects conducted in the heritage areas has not taken the opinions of local
community into the consideration. As a result, conflicts between
authorities and the local communities occur in Egypt. On the contrary,
UNESCO appreciated the Turkish efforts to raise the local community
participation in management and development plans.
In terms of financial management of the heritages sites, it seems
that the situation is almost the same for both countries. Mainly, the central
governments are providing funds to develop projects. However, the funds
are limited in both countries. Egypt is eager to allocate limited funds to
urgent sites that need restoration and renovation whereas in Turkey it is
the various governmental bodies and to some extent the sponsors who
support the heritage sites.
Finally, the comparative study revealed that there is an absence of
collaboration among stakeholders and this can affect the heritage sites
negatively. Moreover, there is no integration between the city plans and
the conservation plans, so this can lead to inefficiencies in creating and
pursuing the monitoring systems of these sites in both countries.

Rahma Qader,

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