Stolen artifacts from Turkey found in Germany
ÖMER ERBİLOne of the artifacts stolen from the Kocaeli Archaeology Museum in 2009 has been found at an auction in Germany.
The Culture and Tourism Ministry reported theft of the Roman-era color marble relief, which is valued at around 32,000 euros in the auction, to Interpol.
Following the illegal excavations there, the Kocaeli Archaeology Museum initiated excavations in İzmit’s Çukurbağ neighborhood, estimated to be the center of the ancient city of Nicomedia.
Excavations in the field unearthed a number of Roman-era sculptures and reliefs, which were then included in the museum collection and kept in storage. But the inventory taken after two years revealed that one Roman-era bust and one color relief panel were not in the museum storage.
The Culture and Tourism Ministry opened an investigation in 2012, which led to accusations against a watchman in the excavation field. The museum director of the time was also discharged.
Turkey later informed Interpol about the lost artifacts and in 2013, German police informed Turkish officials that the artifacts had been put up for sale by the Sixbid auction house in Germany. The artifacts had been put up for sale on the Internet, and the Turkish Foreign Ministry applied to the auction house to return the artifacts.
The online sale was canceled but the auction company did not accept that the artifacts were stolen.
In a written statement, the Culture and Tourism Ministry said talks about the artifacts were still ongoing and added that it would take further steps if there was no positive result.