Thirty paintings stolen from state museum seized in simultaneous raids
ANKARA – Radikal
A total of 302 pieces were stolen from the State Museum of Painting and Sculpture in Ankara according to an inventory made in 2010 and published in Jan. 2011. Hürriyet photoPolice have seized 30 important paintings stolen from state museums during a raid this week, daily Radikal reported Dec. 7. The seized material included works of prominent Turkish and Ottoman painters such as Fikret Mualla, İbrahim Çallı, Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu and Hoca Ali Rıza.
A total of 302 pieces were stolen from the State Museum of Painting and Sculpture in Ankara, according to an inventory of approximately 5,000 works of art carried out by the Culture Ministry in 2010.
The report claimed that 256 of the paintings were completely missing while 46 had been replaced with fake replicas. The authenticity of 30 more art works was also described as "highly suspicious," according to the report.
Former Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay responded at the time and said the museum was poorly protected, especially after the 1980 coup.
A number of denunciations were reported during the investigation, which was conducted in high secrecy. As a result, simultaneous raids were carried out on Dec. 5 in homes, galleries and antique shops belonging to auction firms or private collectors in Istanbul and Ankara, Radikal reported.
Police said some of the paintings were found in secret warehouses of auction firms, adding that their owners knew that they had been stolen.
Dozens of important pieces of art are still missing from the museum, and police say the investigation will continue.