(Sabah Newspaper, 6 August 2012)
'Filmmakers' in the trenches
the governor's office and began excavating with a back-hoe,
saying they were filming a documentary for TRT (Turkish
Radio and Television), turned out to be treasure-hunters.
The suspects were caught while digging but rejected the
accusations, claiming that 'we're digging a trench. The name
of the film is 'Homeland in a Trench'.
The incredible incident occurred between Uçmakdere and
Yeniköy in Şarköy district of Tekirdağ. The eight-person
group set to work in the area based on a treasure map they
got their hands on. To do this they resorted to an unusual
tactic: they applied to the Tekirdağ Governor's office with
false documents and a trumped-up petition expaining that
they were filming a 3-part TRT documentary that would
last for nine days, with the film being named 'Homeland in
The treasure-hunters requested permission and moral support
from the governor's office, which they received, and established
a 'set' in the Uçmakdere-Yeniköy area where there are many
Byzantine-era ruins. The suspects leased a back-hoe and began
digging and as locals came alongside they tried to fool them by
telling them 'we're making a film.' Nevertheless, the villagers
became suspicious and notified the Gendarmerie, which observed
the suspects for a while before conducting a raid the day before
Application for permission to 'film'
The eight suspects were caught red-handed with treasure mapsand photographs of historical works. The treasure-hunters
showed the Gendarmerie the documents they had obtained
from the governor's office but then TRT was asked about the
situation. When TRT stated that there was no such documentary
in the works the eight suspects were taken into custody. The
Gendarmerie seized the back-hoe and other digging equipment.
In the ensuing investigation it was determined that the suspects
had gotten the governor's office permission based on false
documents and that they were searching for Byzantine gold.
The treasure-hunters' 'director', Erkan Ç. claimed that ''everything
is legal. We were going to make a film about the Çanakkale (Gallipoli)
War here. We have the requisite legal permissions. We were
digging the trench with the back-hoe for the film plateau. Turkey
isn't a Banana Republic.''