Campaign kicked off for return of ancient nurse
Academics have started a campaign for the return of a 4,000-year-old sculpture unearthed in 1882 in the southern province of Adana’s historic Tebebağ neighborhood and then smuggled to the U.S.
In the bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum, dated 1921, it was said that the statue was found by a missionary at a school construction site before it was smuggled out of Turkey in a potato sack and loaded on a yacht with a British flag.
The founder of Çukurova University’s Archaeology Department, Assistant Professor Serdar Girginer, said they only found out about the existence of the statue in 1998.
“The statue was discovered at a construction site. When its importance was realized, it was smuggled out of Turkey on a British yacht. Then the statue started to be displayed at the New York Metropolitan Museum in 1921. Today, this artifact of our culture and land is still there,” Girginer said.
Archaeologist Mehmet Emin Arıcı also said he had gone to see the statue in New York.
“It is on display in the museum’s Southern Anatolia section and draws great interest,” he said.
Dr. Haluk Uygur, the founder of the Altınoran Thought and Art Platform, said they had long been carrying out campaigns for the return of the Nurse
“The statue was unearthed during illegal excavations and smuggled out of the country. It was given to the New York Metropolitan Museum. In our earlier talks, we addressed the issue along with then Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay. Then we tried to keep this issue on the agenda. Now we are moving with many people, including [main opposition Republican People’s Party] CHP Adana deputy Zülfikar İnönü. The statue belongs in our city and we want its return,” Uygur said.