ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
More than 140 tons of historical texts were sold to second-hand booksellers for their paper value by Turkey’s National Library. The historical pieces were bought by booksellers and collectors, who then allegedly sold the texts to auctioneers at high prices
DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ
Many historical books and texts in the inventory of the National Library of Turkey were sold to second-hand booksellers for lower prices and were later bought by collectors.
Around 147 tons of historical texts, including books and magazines of which there are no records, were sold to second hand booksellers by the National Library for between 15 and 50 kuruş per kilogram.
Second hand booksellers and collectors bought the historical texts for around 15 to 50 kuruş per kilogram and priced and sold them to auctioneers at higher prices.
Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik said they would clamp down on the corruption in the National Library on Dec. 7 via his Twitter account.
“We have detected some criminal and corrupted practices over many works in the National Library,” said Çelik in his first tweet over the corruption in the library.
“The National Library is the memory of the national culture and is the institution that bridges us with the international culture. It should be protected cautiously. It will be protected determinedly,” Çelik also tweeted.Negligence
“It seems that the neglect in [the library] has links to some interests groups outside [the library]. We will crack down on these,” Çelik added via his twitter account.
The corruption was first detected during a meeting of the library when it was realized that a historical book with the National Library’s stamp was sold to the Konya manuscript department.
Around 102 tons of historical books which were not listed or classified were sent to the waste department in 2007 with 11 trucks. Also another 45 tons of books were sent to the waste house with a notice saying that these depots were needed urgently and should be evacuated. The waste house has opened auctions for these books at different times and sold them from 15 to 50 kuruş.
It is possible to find books with stamps of the National Library in Ankara’s second-hand booksellers which are sold for between 400 and 1000 Turkish Liras. The daily Hürriyet found two books written in Armenian in 1860 and 1800, and Greek-language Pontus magazine published in Merzifon in 1913.