Turkey’s campaign criticized
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
The top half of ‘Weary Herakles,’ was returned to Turkey last September.Turkey has been criticized by the president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation for holding an aggressive campaign to reclaim cultural antiquities the nation says were plundered from the region while their own museums contain looted artifacts, according to a New York Times article published Sept. 30.
“The Turks are engaging in polemics and nasty politics,” said Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, according to the New York Times. “They should be careful about making moral claims when their museums are full of looted treasures,” Parzinger said.
According to Parzinger, the Ottomans acquired numerous cultural treasures from other cultures during their centuries of rule in the Middle East and parts of Southeastern Europe. The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation oversees the Pergamon Museum.
Parzinger told the New York Times that Turkey did not actually posses any legal claim to the artifacts it claims the Pergamon Museum retains illegally. According to the article, Parzinger warned that “treating Germany like a petty thief puts more than a century of archaeological cooperation at risk and harms relations between the countries as Turkey seeks to join the European Union.”
The widely-embraced UNESCO convention, ratified by Turkey in 1981, enables museums to pursue and acquire pieces that have been out of their country of origin prior to 1970. According to the New York Times article, Turkey is now using a law from 1906, which banned the export of artifacts, to reclaim any item removed from the country after that date in a move that museum directors say looks to change accepted international museum practices.
“Museums like the Met, the Getty, the Louvre and the Pergamon in Berlin say their mission to display global art treasures is under siege from Turkey’s tactics,” the article said.