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If Santa Is Buried in Turkey, Who Has Been Delivering the Presents?

Turkish archeologists announced this week that they may have discovered the bones of St. Nicholas, the saint better known to the world as Santa Claus. The remains were unearthed beneath a 4th-century structure in Demre (ancient Myra), the traditional location of Nicholas’ birth. The discovery of St. Nicholas raises a whole host of unpleasant bedtime questions. If Santa is buried in Turkey, who has been delivering the presents?  The discovery was made after digital analysis of the ground beneath the church. Archaeologists currently believe that the tomb has gone undisturbed since antiquity, but the mosaics on the floor make it difficult to excavate there. Cemril Karabayram, the head of Antalya’s Monument Authority, explained that specialists are unable to confirm the story until the floor of the church (which depicts scenes from the life of Nicholas of Myra) can be carefully removed.

Thomas Cook: British Holidaymakers Are Returning to Egypt and Turkey

Turkey and Egypt are attracting more British holiday bookings, as prices in destinations seen as safer continue to increase. Both countries have seen a slump in visitor numbers due to a series of terror attacks, together with the closure to UK airlines of the main Egyptian resort airport, Sharm el Sheikh. But Peter Fankhauser, Chief Executive of Thomas Cook, said demand had picked up “as customers look for quality and value”. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Both destinations are wonderful countries, with great hotels, great beaches, nice people, and it’s really good value.



“People want to go back. We are not a security company; as long as we have the advice of the Foreign Office that we can fly to Egypt and Turkey, we offer a great product.”

Many holidaymakers have switched from the eastern Mediterranean to destinations perceived as “safe”, notably Spain.

Sales to Spain were unchanged, with “a very competitive trading environment” — due to the sheer number of aircraft seats from the UK to Spanish airports. Average selling prices for seat-only tickets are down 3 per cent, while holiday prices overall have risen by 7 per cent.

“Spanish hoteliers are taking advantage a bit of the increased demand, and prices went up because we have not enough beds for all the demand,” said Mr Fankhauser. He predicted “A 5 to 10 per cent price increase we’ll have for sure in Spain” for summer 2018.

Thomas Cook has faced criticism from some holidaymakers caught up in the extreme weather in the Caribbean and Florida earlier this month, in particular travellers who were in Cuba as Hurricane Irma approached and who say Thomas Cook was slow in responding.

But Mr Fankhauser said: “I am proud of how fast we acted in the wake of Irma to support our customers, and offer them alternative destinations for their winter sun.” (Simon Calder / independent.co.uk)

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Archaeologists Home in on Homeric Clues as Turkey Declares Year of Troy

Rüstem Aslan, Troy’s chief archaeologist, grows more animated as he enters the fenced-off area just beyond the southern gate of the ancient city’s ruins. To him it offers tantalising clues that may add to the evidence that this was the scene of the war detailed in Homer’s epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey. “Priam, Achilles, Hector: [whether] they lived and died here, we cannot prove that 100%,” said the affable Aslan, who started working at the site as a student in 1988. “But if you work inside for 30 years, night and day, winter or summer, surrounded by this landscape, you can feel it. You start to believe.”

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‘Kilia Idol’ Will Not Be Returned to Turkey

The Kilia Idol, a 23-centimeter statuette that has been smuggled from Turkey, was sold at an auction in New York. According to a court order, the idol will not be returned to Turkey since the ministry was too late in taking action. The New York District Court has rejected the return of the “Kilia Idol,” a 23-centimeter statuette that has been smuggled from Kulaksızlar in the western Turkish province of Manisa’s Akhisar district and was sold at a New York auction on April 28.

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Three New Sites and Two Extensions Added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Krakow, Poland, 9 July—The World Heritage Committee, meeting in Krakow since 2 July, this afternoon ended the inscription of sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List with the final addition of three cultural sites in Brazil, Turkey and the United Kingdom, and the approval of the extensions of Strasbourg: from Grande-île to Neustadt, a European urban scene (France) and The Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau (Germany).

Christie’s Must Name Bidder for a ‘Stolen’ $14.5 Million Turkish Idol, Judge Rules

In what can only be described as a highly unusual art law case, a Manhattan federal judge has ordered Christie’s auction house to identify the winning—yet ultimately unsuccessful—bidder of a 5,000-year-old artifact that Turkey is claiming as stolen cultural property. The bizarre part? The troubled deal stemmed from an auction in late April that was never consummated. The buyer reneged and Christie’s still possesses the piece, described as an Anatolian marble female idol of Kiliya type. The artifact, known as the Guennol Stargazer, has been in the US for nearly 60 years and has already passed through the hands of several owners since it was allegedly illegally excavated and smuggled out of the country.

First Baptism in 150 Years At Turkish Church

A Baptism ceremony has taken place at a chapel located near the ancient Temple of Apollo in Turkey's southwestern Aydın province for the first time after 150 years. According to reports, the son of Assyrian businessman Enlil Simon Afram was baptized at the 300-year-old chapel, located in Aydın's Didim district. The Metropolitan Bishop of Mardin and Diyarbakır Saliba Özmen performed the baptism. He noted that he led couple's wedding ceremony two years ago at a Greek Orthodox Church in Didim.

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