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Speaking to ILKHA NEWS AGENCY, Director Cem Sertesen told of why he made "Noah's Ark" documentary as well as his second documentary, which was in the shooting phase.

Cem Sertesen, who directed the documentary called "Noah's Ark" about the Durupınar site that is thought to be the Prophet Noah's Ark, told of why he made 'Noah's Ark' Documentary as well as his second documentary, which was in the shooting phase.

Cem Sertesen said that it was during the period that he had been to Dogubayazit in Ağrı province in order to shoot a documentary on Ishakpaşa Palace, when a young man showed him the Durupınar site, the location of Noah's Ark, in 1995.

"I set out on this road in 1995 to serve my country."

Talking about the process that led him to the Noah's Ark, Sertesen said: "I was in Doğubayazit of Ağrı province in order to shoot a documentary about Ishakpasha palace, when a young man asked me if I wanted to see the Noah's Ark. I was surprised and said, ' Of course, I'd love to see it'. He took us the Durupınar site after we had finished our work. When I saw the site, I was very impressed. I went up there, and I was so excited about the possibility that it might be Noah's Ark. 'Maybe I'm on the top of Noah's Ark' I said myself. I promised myself one day I would make a documentary about that site. I set out on this road to serve my country on that day."

"If I hadn't met Ilhan Durupinar, this documentary probably wouldn't have been shot."

"In 2005, I went to Ilhan Durupinar's House in Ankara and interviewed him. Ilhan Bey was 82 years old at the time. It was a miracle for me to start shooting the documentary. I thought I was doing a right job and it was my duty to introduce the site where the Prophet Noah's Ark is to the World. The Durupınar site was covered in newspapers in 1959. It was reported 2-3 times in a year. It was even reported in Hayat magazine. Then it was forgotten for years. It has been my destiny to shoot this documentary after 58 years. But I could say that If I hadn't met Ilhan Durupinar, this documentary probably wouldn't have been shot," he said.

"The documentary hit the top 10 at the TRT Documentary Awards"

Reminding that he also interviewed Ara Guler, who was instrumental in the region's promotion worldwide by taking the first photograph, Sertesen said: "The question of why the documentary was put on hold until 2017 may come to mind. Until then, I have been thinking about what kind of documentary I should be making. There was so much valuable information that at one point I even thought about making a feature film. However, I could not find a sponsor for it. Fortunately, for I probably explained the subject well in the documentary, it ranked in top 10 among 750 films in TRT Documentary Awards. After the finalists had been announced, the documentary began to be covering in the press. Then I began giving interviews to the journalist."

"Walt Disney wanted to invest in Dogubayazit 60 years ago"

After the American Walt Disney had heard about the discovery of the Durupınar site, he wrote a letter to Ilhan Durupinar, who made the discovery, and said that he wanted to invest in Dogubayazit. Walt Disney would have built hotels, roads, airports in the region. Imagine a project that Walt Disney would have come and poured millions of dollars into. Who knows, maybe the east of Turkey today would be a place with billions of dollars in tourism revenue. After hearing this, I was shocked. That made me wait 12 years. I told my close friends about it. They said it was newsworthy and should be given to the press. I did not share it with the press because I wanted to publicize it via the documentary. The documentary attracted a lot of attention. After the documentary, I wrote the first book on Noah's Ark, then the second book.

"Underground radar images were given to the Prime Minister's office in 1985"

He stated that a group of researchers from the University of California, headed by geophysical engineer Assoc. Dr. Salih Bayraktutan, an academic at Atatürk University, carried out a research, using underground radar imaging technology and the result of the research was submitted to the prime minister's office.

He continued: "That report is the first and last official research to date. I published the report in my second book. 'There is an ancient shipwreck in the Durupınar site but it is too early to say that this ship is the Noah' Ark,' the report read and urging the state of the Republic of Turkey, especially the universities to get involved in this issue and to do more detailed research. Mr. Bayraktutan gave me the report. I published the report in my second book, titled 'We Were All In The Same Boat'."

Talking about another research carried out on the Durupınar site, Sertesen went on saying: " In the 1980s, American archaeologist Jhon Waiht came and did research. He used the Radar imaging system to indicate if there was a ship there. Finally, New Zealander John Larsen and American archaeologist Andrev took 3-D radar images of this area. In their articles and research results, it is stated that there was an ancient shipwreck in the village of Telçeker (the Durupınar site) but they could not say that the shipwreck was the Noah's Ark. The resulting 3-D image showed the hull of the ship. I also interviewed them for my second documentary, which will be titled as Noah's Ark 2. They said that more researches needed to be done there. Carbon date needed to be carried out. There is a stream of mud under and on the sides of the ship. The earthquake, which took place in 1945, has emerged the shipwreck. In 1959, topographical engineer Ilhan Durupınar, while checking the documents, saw that the shape there resembles a ship, and that its height, width and depth measurements of the shape match the measurements on Noah's Ark in the Torah. After Durupınar informed the Turkish government of his discovery, Turkish General Staff immediately assigned photographer Ara Güler to shoot the place in the shape of a ship and sent him to the Doğubayazıt district of Ağrı. When Ara Guler shares the photos that he took with the Turkish General Staff and Times Magazine, the Telceker region of Ağrı got attention from all over the World."

"If we run a good promotion, we can attract millions of tourists to that area."

If I were the minister of tourism, I would hang that photo taken by Ara Guler at Airports of Istanbul Airport, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, especially at Ağrı Airport. Because that is how tourism is done in the world. By performing promotional activities, other countries are able to market even very ordinary places as tourist destinations to the world. The number of tourists coming to Istanbul and Antalya in our country visits to their towns. Because we are not able to introduce the tourist places in our country to the world.

"Noah's Ark has great importance in terms of faith tourism"

Sertesen stated that visits to the region increased after the discovery and that there were more visitors from abroad and added: " Mostly Americans come and do research. A Danish came to that area and wrote a book about the site. Researchers measured the site. They compared their measurements with the ones in the Torah, and the measurements matched. "While the term 'Harri Ararat' is used in the Bible. The Holy Qur'an says that the ship came to rest on the [mountain of] Judiyy. Some the commentators of the Holy Quran state that this verse of the Qur'an refers to the mountain of Judiyy, which is located within the borders of the province of Şırnak, while others state that the name of Judi is mentioned only in the Qur'an and that it may mean a high mountain or fertile land. Those who say Judiyy and those who say Ararat are right. The area is the same area. The Noah's Ark has great importance in terms of faith tourism."

Is it a bad thing if 200 to 300 million tourists come to Turkey in a year?

Sertesen went on saying: "Can you imagine 40 million tourists coming to Doğubayazıt a year? Not only Ağrı province but also the provinces like Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Erzurum, Igdir would accommodate the tourists. Is it a bad thing if 200 to 300 million tourists come to Turkey in a year? We may not know exactly where Noah's Ark is, but it is definitely in Turkey. No researcher is searching for Noah's Ark anywhere other than our country. I have been to the area for many times. There is not any problem regarding security in the region. I have been there 3 times in the last month. We wandered through the mountains and the hills. Our soldiers, our people, the people of this country are there. Thank god, there is no fighting, no unrest there. I hope that it will get better."

Pointing out that 60 tourists went to the area two months ago after watching his documentary about Noah's Ark, Sertesen said: "They took me with them as a guide. For the first time, a tourism company turned its route directly to Doğubayazıt district of Ağrı province for Noah's Ark. On the 60th anniversary of the discovery, we were there with 60 travelers. One of them was Coşkun Aral. They were very happy. As I said before, I am not a theologian, archaeologist, geophysical engineer. I am a documentarian, there is an amazing site there and I made its documentary.

"In my second documentary, I will include the people of the region along with the scientific data about the Durupınar site"

Speaking about his second documentary, Sertesen said: "In my first documentary, I told The Story of an expedition about Noah's Ark. It was not from the book that I collected this information; it was directly from the Discover himself, Mr.Durupınar. When Mr. Durupınar gave me all the information, it all fell into place. I highlighted the indifference towards the region in the story of the expedition that I told in my first documentary. I emphasized the indifference of the authorities and the government of that time. He even said at the end of the documentary, 'This Place has never thrilled anyone as much as Walt Disney'. 60 years ago, Walt Disney wanted to invest in the area. It had been 4 years since he opened Disney Land. The Great Flood is a fact that mentioned in the books of three religions and mentioned in the Sumerian tablets before them. My second documentary will be titled Noah's Ark 2. I will focus on Scientific Reports on the site. People who watched my first documentary asked me if there were any scientific reports about the Durupınar site. At the end of my first documentary, I talked about scientific reports for a minute or so, but I do not think it was enough. There is a period of 40 years between the first scientific study and the last scientific study. Moreover, in my second documentary, I am going to include the locals who live there. There are local people there who are learning English only to guide tourists. I will make it clear by talking to the public. I will start filming the documentary in the summer. I will complete the editing in the fall. I hope I will make my documentary ready by the end of 2020. (ILKHA)

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