Turkey halts Austrian archaeological dig over tensions with Vienna

Turkish authorities have halted an Austrian archaeological dig in western Turkey due to diplomatic tensions between the two countries, the Hurriyet newspaper reported on Monday.

Excavations led by an Austrian team in the ancient city of Ephesus were prematurely ended in late August by the Turkish Interior Ministry due to "prolonged political tensions," according to the Turkish daily.

For over 100 years the Austrian Archaeological Institute has carried out excavations at Ephesus, a UNESCO heritage site in the Turkish province of Izmir and former home of the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the world.

Relations between the two countries have been tense since Vienna called for an end to Ankara's negotiations to join the European Union due to Turkey's alleged lack of democratic standards in the wake of a failed coup attempt last month.

Excavations have been temporarily resumed by the director of the Ephesus Museum. Any return to the dig for Austrian archaeologists depends on a restoration of Turkish-Austrian relations, acccording to the report.

Last update: Mon, 05/09/2016 - 17:21
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