The unique underwater archaeological heritage of Turkey’s waters made it the preferred location for conducting world-renowned underwater archaeological projects. Hence, Turkey has become, and always will be, a focal point of interest in the scientific milieu.
In addition to the universities that serve the needs of underwater archaeology, there are also institutions, such as our Foundation, where individuals with a consciousness of the social responsibility principle come together to support and serve the field. TINA the Turkish Foundation for Underwater Archaeology, founded by volunteers in 1990, has become an entity that made the most significant contributions to underwater archaeology through the work they accomplished. Besides that, commemorating the pioneers who served in such a special field, and handing their legacy down to the next generations is, of course, among our responsibilities.
Our colleague, Mustafa Vehbi Koç who left us much too early, and whose absence brings us indescribable sorrow, made the most important contributions to Turkey’s underwater heritage with his modesty, unpretentious approach, and humanitarian values under the roof of our Foundation. He was the one who provided the largest support to many of the very important underwater archaeological excavations that were performed in Turkey’s waters. And, naming the underwater archaeology center in Urla after himself is the most outstanding example, indicating our associate Mustafa’s interest and support in the field.
When we started out with the preparation of the interviews for this publication, Mr. Koç was alive, and he gave one of his final interviews for this book. The desire of our colleague, who pioneered our Foundation with his leading personality and vision, to establish a Department of Underwater Archaeology under the aegis of Koç University has been among our main discussions as a project that he placed much emphasis on. We are very happy to make his heartfelt desire come to fruition. From now on, we wish to maintain his contributions, realize his future targets and his perfectionist vision with all our conscience and efforts.
While we are dedicating this publication by our Foundation to the precious memory of Mustafa Vehbi Koç, I am beholden to Mehmet Bezdan for giving prominence to those who serve the field of underwater archaeology through the Portraits of the Deep project, and I would like to extend my thanks to all board members, particularly Kenan Yılmaz, who provided full support for this project.
Chairman of the Board
TINA Turkish Foundation for Underwater Archaeology