Arsan Tourism and Travel Agency started the "Zeugma/Belkis Rescue Excavations Support Campaign" which recieved placement in 52 world projects through a competition arranged by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and Smithsonian Magazine at the 66 th Asia World Congress which was held in Bangkok. Ayşe Nur Yılmazer the General Manager of Arsan Tourism and Travel Agency, presented the Asia Environment Commitee with a flag of Şahinbey Lions Club in honour of their support for this project.
The ancient city of Zeugma, which is found in Belkis village, near Nizip/Gaziantep, has been located at an easy point to cross the Euphrates river so it had developed into a very important pass way. It was" always an important military and trade center. The banks of the Euphrates river have been the sites of many wars, since it acted as a natural border between eastern and western empires. Alexander the Great had crossed the Euphrates here on his way to victory in Iran and later in the Helenistic period it had been rebuilt. During the Kommagene kingdom Zeugma was one of the four major cities. In the Roman period, it was the southern most garnison for the military on the Euphrates. In this period the city developed and established trade, art and cultural ties with Palmyra in southern Syria and became enriched, especially in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. It started losing its glamour, which it held during the Byzantine period. It lost its importance due to Islamic waves. It had already lost much of its importance when the regional balance changed.

Zeugma, which means "bridge head", had made great advances in the Roman period in decoration of villas and I mosaics had developed to a degree to compete with any such works in the world. Additionally, the Palmyra influence had developed cemetery sculpture to new levels.

After the Malazgirt war, the Turkish migrants into Anatolia first saw ancient and impressive architecture and called the town Belkis in reference to the country of Bath (Belkis), Queen of Sheba, just as other towns named Belkis recieved their names (Aspendos-Belkis, Kyzikos-Belkis).
The site of ancient Zeugma from the 2nd-3rd centuries A.D., provided barracks for the Roman Legions along the quiet banks of the Euphates River, the site has proven to be a treasure house reflecting the magnificent tastes of this era.

Illegal excavations combined with bad roads have led to the destruction of this impressive civilization and the final stroke is that this site is to be covered by the rising waters of the Birecik Dam Project.

We should not succumb to the fate of most third world countries by allowing our archeological treasures to be destroyed by neglect.

We should have brought together all concerned civil groups and formed good financial resources to repay our debt to the past.

With these intentions, we joined the project started by our member, ARSAN Tourism and Travel Agency. We tried to sell postcards, information booklets and posters to build up finances. This also led to recognition of the site by others.

Our releases in international papers and published articles have been like a cry in the dark. The sincere support gained was turned over to the Gaziantep Directorate of Museum and spent on the Belkis/Zeugma excavations.

The excavations, which are done through the Gaziantep Directorate of Museum and foreign groups, have brought to the light of day and protected from ignorant people this civilization, where they receive more admiration.

With every passing day, more archelogical knowledge, other grand cultures and natural wonders are rescued from a watery grave.

In our race against time, we thank all interested groups and people who have, or will, provide support for these efforts.