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Near East: Countdown starts for UNESCO in Ephesus
The ancient city of Ephesus near Selçuk in the Aegean province of İzmir has begun counting down the days until its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List, with the voting taking place on July 5. Selçuk Mayor Zeynel Bakıcı said they were expecting good news after the vote.

Countdown starts for UNESCO in Ephesus
Bakıcı said two different reports regarding Ephesus’ UNESCO candidacy were made by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) at two different times, adding the reports implied they would have a positive result.

Bakıcı said the voting would be held during the 39th World Heritage Committee in Bonn.

“The session will start on July 3 but the agenda is busy. The candidacy of Ephesus is the 38th article of the agenda, the end of the list. It will be voted on July 5 and we are sure that the result will be positive for us,” the mayor said.

He said they would celebrate the result by flying Turkish flags and organizing a celebration program in Selçuk.

Bakıcı said the importance of Ephesus being added to the World Heritage List was perceived very well by local residents, adding, “UNESCO will bring many things to Ephesus. For example, projects on field management will be done immediately. The region will be reorganized. This is what we want.”

He said Ephesus was home to artifacts from the ancient Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman eras. “In broad terms, Ephesus is a wide area including Ayasuluk [Castle], [the ancient temple of] Artemis, [the Basilica of] St. John, Çukuriçi Mound and Pamucak [beach]. The city that we call Ephesus had a population of 200,000 people in the past. Ephesus will be a world heritage [site] with all of its factors,” he said.

Source: Anadolu Agency [June 17, 2015]