July 19, 2007

Turkish officials to Mayor Lupolianski: "The tablet with Siloam Inscription will be returned to Jerusalem"

Here's a statement from the Jerusalem Mayor's office:

Following a meeting between mayor Lupolianski and Turkish ambassador to Israel, Mr. Namik Tan, it was agreed to look into the option of lending the tablet with Siloam inscription to the city of Jerusalem.

The 2,700-year-old tablet, which is now presented in the Archeology Museum in Istanbul, holds a great historical and cultural significance to the Jewish people. It contains testimonies from the days of the first temple and describes the construction of the tunnel by king Hezekiah. The tunnel was dug in order to maintain water supply to besieged Jerusalem. The tablet was discovered in 1880 by the British and taken by the Ottoman rulers when they left the region in 1917, after world War 1.

These days there have been indications that Turkey sees Lupolianski' s request in a positive light. Therefore, the tablet might be returned to Jerusalem as a gesture of goodwill and as a sign of friendship between the 2 peoples.

The municipality sees it as a great archeological and cultural achievement.

Throughout the years, attempts have been made in order to bring the tablet back to its natural environment -Jerusalem .However, back then these attempts did not succeed.

The mayor, on his part has, agreed to promote a plan to build a monument to commemorate the Turkish soldiers who died on Israeli land/here during World War one.

Gidi Schmerling,
Municipality' s spokesman

For a background on this story, see this and this.