Mystery metal monolith turns out to be Turkish govt gimmick

ANKARA, TURKEY (AP) — A metal monolith that mysteriously appeared and disappeared on a field in southeast Turkey turned out to be a publicity gimmick before a government event on Tuesday during which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a space programme for the country.

The three-metre-high metal slab bearing an ancient Turkic script, was found last Friday by a farmer in Sanliurfa province. It was discovered near the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site of Gobekli Tepe, which is home to megalithic structures dating to the 10th millennium BC, thousands of years before Stonehenge.

However, the shiny structure that bore the inscription “Look at the sky, you will see the moon” in the ancient Turkic Gokturk alphabet, was reported gone on Tuesday morning, adding to the mystery.

An image of the monolith was later projected on a screen as Erdogan presented Turkey’s space programme during a televised event.

“I now present to you Turkey’s 10-year vision, strategy and aims and I say: ‘look at the sky, you will see the moon’,” Erdogan said.

Turkish police officers guard a monolith, found on an open field near Sanliurfa. PHOTO: AP

Earlier, the state-run Anadolu Agency quoted the field’s owner as saying he was baffled by both its appearance and disappearance.

“We don’t know if it was placed on my field for marketing purposes or as an advertisement,” Anadolu quoted Fuat Demirdil as saying. “We saw that the metal block was no longer at its place. Residents cannot solve the mystery of the metal block either.”

The agency also quoted local resident Hasan Yildiz as saying the block was still at the field on Monday evening, but had disappeared by the morning.

Other mysterious monoliths have similarly appeared and some have disappeared in numerous countries in recent months.

Gobekli Tepe was the setting of the Turkish Netflix mystery series, The Gift.