Smuggled antiquities to be returned to Turkey after ceremony in New York


Twenty-eight ancient objects illegally taken out of Turkey will be returned to the country after a ceremony in New York.

Most of the returned items were from the illegal collection of US billionaire Michael Steinhardt [Getty]

The Turkish Consulate General in New York on Friday took possession of 28 Turkish cultural objects that had been seized by US authorities on Anadolu reports the news agency.

Of the 28 artifacts handed over, 16 were from the collection of US billionaire Michael Steinhardt, who recently fell victim to US authorities for illegally purchasing antiques.

The artifacts will now be returned to Turkey.

They were presented to Turkey’s Consul General in New York, Reyhan Ozgur, by a representative of the US Department of Homeland Security and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, during a ceremony at the Turkey Center.

The returned items represented a hoard of ancient artifacts, including 12 coins, a stag-headed rhyton drinking vessel, a 6,000-year-old Kilia idol and a mother goddess idol from the Neolithic period.

The handover to New York follows anti-smuggling efforts by Turkey, which announced last month that it had recovered 3,480 cultural property in 2021.

Returning smuggled items to Turkey is sometimes complicated by the need to work with multiple foreign judicial and law enforcement authorities.

Smuggling of antiquities out of Turkey has been illegal since the founding of the modern state in 1923.

In August 2021, Turkish authorities arrested 78 suspected members of a smuggling operation and seized over 23,000 artifacts in raids.

The objects recovered in New York will be exhibited in Turkish museums after their return to the country.


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