Ankara, May 4, 2017: Archaeologists have discovered an ancient Roman temple devoted to the ancient deity Mithras in Turkey’s southeastern province Diyarbakir, Kurdish regional broadcaster Rudaw said on Thursday.
The archaeological team also uncovered an army base on Mount Zerzavan as well as the temple, believed to be 1,700 years old and built while the area was under Roman rule, Rudaw said.
“This was a strategic lookout post for the Roman army in the east,” archaeologist Aytas Coskun told Rudaw. “Civilians and soldiers had lived here. It was in fact a city in itself.”
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The archaeologists have uncovered sleeping quarters, kitchens, public baths and water wells at the site in addition to the temple.
The newly unearthed temple is said to be 35 metres wide and 2.5 meters high. The site is located between Diyarbakir and Mardin.
Excavations began over three years ago at the site located between Diyarbakir and the neighbouring province of Mardin, which borders northern Iraq.
Mithraism was a religion common in India and Iran and parts of the Middle East before Christianity.
The mysterious cult was all-male, and most of the temples were built underground and date from the 1st to the 4th century AD.
The iconic scenes of the deity Mithras show him being born from a rock, slaughtering a bull, and sharing a banquet with the Sun god Sol. (IANS)
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan says “a much stronger effort” is needed to further ongoing peace talks his country is facilitating between the United States and Afghanistan’s Taliban.
Addressing a televised joint news conference in Ankara after official talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Khan said Afghans have suffered for decades and it is time for the International community to help bring an end to the war in the country.
“Pakistan has already been helping a dialogue between the Taliban and the Americans but it needs a much stronger effort from all the stakeholders, neighbors,” the prime minister emphasized.
Khan was referring to two-day talks in Abu Dhabi last month between U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, and senior Taliban representatives that Pakistan said it had arranged.
Khalilzad and the Taliban described the dialogue “productive” and promised to meet again soon. Insurgents demand complete withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan, saying their presence are blocking progress toward peace.
Speaking Friday, President Erdoğan announced he will host a trilateral summit meeting with Pakistan and Afghanistan after Turkey’s March 31 local elections to discuss the peace process.
“I look forward to the summit meeting inshallah [God willing] in Istanbul where we hope that Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey will be able to help in this [Afghan] peace process … a much badly needed peace,” Prime Minister Khan said.
Pakistan’s role in arranging the U.S.-Taliban talks, analysts say, is leading to a thaw in Islamabad’s traditionally tumultuous relationship with Washington.
Speaking on Wednesday, President Donald Trump apparently acknowledged the improvement in mutual ties. “We do want to have a great relationship with Pakistan … so, I look forward to meeting with the new leadership in Pakistan. We will be doing that in the not too distant future.”
Khan’s two-day official meetings in Turkey ended Friday and it was his first visit to the country since taking power after the July elections in Pakistan. The two Muslim nations enjoy close relations.
Prime Minister Khan assured Turkey of his country’s support to defeat Islamic State, saying the terrorist group “already has emerged in various parts of Afghanistan” and threatens the security of Pakistan.
Erdoğan also praised a recent ruling by Pakistan’s supreme court, which declared exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen’s organization, FETÖ, a terrorist group.
The highest Pakistani court also handed over schools being run by the outlawed organization in the country to a Turkish government foundation.