A world-renowned American archaeology professor, who pioneered underwater excavations both in Turkey and throughout the world, has applied along with his wife for Turkish citizenship.

Dr. George Bass is known for leading the world's first complete shipwreck excavation on the seabed off the Turkish coast. “I have been working in and around Bodrum for 50 years, and I have made great friends during this time,” said Bass, who is also a member of the Bodrum and Karia Region Culture, Art and Promotion Foundation, or BOSAV.

Speaking at a meeting organized to mark the archaeologist’s membership in BOSAV, Bass announced his application for Turkish citizenship. “I have dedicated more than half of my life to Turkish seas,” said Bass. “I now feel that I belong to these lands. That is why my wife and I bought a house in Bodrum to spend the rest of our lives and applied to obtain Turkish citizenship.”

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Oğuz Alpözen, the former director of Bodrum Underwater Archeology Museum, supported Bass for his application. “Bass has worked hard to unearth treasures underwater, helped the Bodrum Museum become one of the best in the world and made great contributions to Turkish experts like Can Pulak, Harun Özdaş and myself,” said Alpözen. “It is very important and valuable that Bass become a Turkish citizen.”

BOSAV Chairman Tufan Turanlı said Bass was in Bodrum long before it became a famous tourist locale and did everything to promote the town. “It will be an honor to see the father of underwater archaeology as a Turkish citizen,” he said.

The archeologist’s first Turkish excavation was at the ancient city of Gordion in 1957. He started working in Bodrum a year later. In 1960, Bass said Bodrum Castle should be restored and opened as a museum and made the necessary applications. His dream was realized in 1962.

In 1973, Bass founded of the Institute of Nautical Archeology, or INA, an organization devoted to the archaeological history of shipbuilding and seafaring around the world.

He was declared a citizen of honor by the Bodrum local governor’s office in 1985 and received the National Medal of Science from then U.S. President George W. Bush in 2002.