Spy agency said to have missing art
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Culture Minister Günay has said the museum was damaged in the 1980 coup. DHA photo
A source from the Culture Ministry claimed that some of the missing works of art from the State Art and Sculpture Museum were found at Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT).
The source said 50 of the 202 works of art missing from the State Art and Sculpture Museum, which exhibits around 5,000 priceless art and sculpture pieces by world-renowned Turkish artists, were found in MİT, daily Hürriyet’s website reported yesterday.
News had broken Aug. 6 claiming that 202 works were missing, 46 were false and the originality of 27 was being questioned by the museum; and the location of the missing works became a matter of concern. The commission concluded their investigation after meticulously examining approximately 5,000 works of art.
After this news, Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay said the museum was damaged in the Sept. 12, 1980 coup, adding that when he took his office, there was so little security in the museum that one could take a piece from storage without any trouble.
The source said the paintings recorded in the Culture Ministry’s museum inventory but not present in the museum were in various public institutions, including MİT.
Fifty of the missing paintings were recorded in MİT’s museum inventory, the source added. Paintings also were lent to the Presidency, the Foreign Ministry for exhibition at organizations, and even Hacettepe University. Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay demanded the return of the paintings from the institutions in an official letter. Some of them have been returned to the Culture Ministry.
Some 202 art works, now “missing,” are priceless works of art belonging to Turkish artists such as Şevket Dağ, Şefik Bursalu, Hikmet Onat and Zühtü Müridoğlu, among many others.