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Turkey wants its İznik pottery back from France

PARIS - Anatolia News Agency | 3/18/2011 12:00:00 AM |

Turkey wants back its historical İznik ceramics that were illegally transferred to France amid restoration works during the Ottoman Empire period.

Turkey wants back its historical İznik ceramics that were illegally transferred to France amid restoration works during the Ottoman Empire period.

İznik ceramics, named after İznik town of the northwestern province of Bursa where the material originates, are highly decorated ceramics whose heyday was the late 16th century. İznik vessels were made in imitation of Chinese porcelain that was highly prized by the Ottoman sultans.

Bringing the stolen İznik pottery back to Turkey also came on the agenda of a recent meeting between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Ankara.

Turkish Culture & Tourism Ministry official Murat Süslü, who attended an international meeting on the 40th anniversary of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export & Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, said the İznik ceramics in tombs of Ottoman sultans Selim II, Murat III and Mahmut I were replaced with imitations during a restoration in 1883 by French expert Albert Drogny, adding that the real pottery pieces were now in the inventory of the Louvre Museum in France.

Criticising the French authorities for not cooperating, Süslü said officials at the Louvre Museum were ignoring calls to discuss the matter.

Noting that Turkey was one of the victims of historical artifacts smuggling, Süslü said Turkey wanted effective functioning of a U.N. resolution against this smuggling.

Representatives from 120 countries that signed onto the convention in 1970 attended the meeting in UNESCO center in Paris.

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