ARTS > Turkish ministry complains about Louvre Museum to visitors

Ömer Erbil - ISTANBUL / Radikal

Print Page Send to friend »
Interior of Hagia Sophia, Hürriyet photo

Interior of Hagia Sophia, Hürriyet photo

Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry has placed a plaque next to the tomb of Sultan Selim II located in the Hagia Sophia complex to notify visitors that the grave’s tiles are replacements as the originals are in France’s famous Louvre Museum.

“These tiles are an imitation of the original ones. The original tiles are exhibited in the Louvre Museum,” the information plaque states in three languages, Turkish, English and French.

“In the Ottoman Era during French citizen Albert Dorigny’s restoration of the building, between 1882 and 1896, it was discovered that 60 tiles had been taken to Paris as part of the restoration process,” the plaque read.

Imitations sent instead of the originals “However, the original pieces were not returned to Turkey; instead, imitations were brought back to Turkey and reinstalled in place of the original. This is an example of ‘art theft,’” the plaque said.

The original pieces are exhibited in the Islamic Arts section of the Louvre Museum, it said, adding that the French Culture Ministry has repeatedly refused Turkey’s demands to return the tiles with claims that they were purchased by the museum from a French dentist.

The ministry, meanwhile, has said it has bills detailing how it purchased the tiles from Dorigny.

The Hagia Sophia attracts nearly 600,000 visitors a year and the ministry is planning to expand the scope of this application to all other stolen artifacts.

Sultan Selim II, also known as “Selim the Blond” was the son of Süleyman the Magnificient and Hürrem Sultan. He was was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1566 until his death in 1574.


PRINTER FRIENDLY Send to friend »


Notice on comments

cezer "çapulcu" skonore

12/25/2012 9:36:14 PM

The statement sounds like an advertisement rather than a complaint. Uninformed foreigners may not understand it or interpret it wrongly. It should be reworded.

Vargen Vargen

12/25/2012 9:13:48 PM

Why are sooo many people in Turkey alway always always involved in conflicts and confrontation???? I can not stand this!!!!!!!

Turk Uzan

12/25/2012 4:50:32 PM

What a ridiculous bunch of comments, so what if the Hagia Sophia wasn't built by Turks? The Tomb was built by the Ottomans, and they took tiles from the TOMB not the church. Even if it was a giant cross with jesus on it, it would have been OUR property, it would have belonged to the Turkish nation and ts citizens. And NO other country has the rights to steal them for what ever reason. This isn't the only case in which foreigners have stolen cultural/historical and religious artifacts from us.

herosaint Sag

12/25/2012 3:56:03 PM

Therefore you are saying that there was no mosque during the Andalucian rule in Spain (suprisingly they are not there any more) or no mosque had not been destroyed in the Balkans. Are we gonna compete how many mosques were destroyed or transformed into a church or vice versa. I think you are better to read the news once again. It is about a burglary as you may see.

constantinos kio

12/25/2012 3:19:06 PM

someone sold them the same did othomans with parthenon marbles

herosaint Sag

12/25/2012 2:38:23 PM

Dear Faruk. Just because you are against the Turkish government, you should not forced to be against Turkish interests. Arab countries were ruled by the Ottoman Empire for a long time. If you call it occupation, we should have been occupied Anatolia as well. Beyond that, we have not received any money for the tiles or any other missing items, they are stolen. It is not so hard to differenciate these two words.

Aydin Amsterdam

12/25/2012 2:30:38 PM

faruk, i wonder if you are able to mention an item that was stolen??

kerem atan

12/25/2012 2:26:59 PM

ottoman occupation of the arab countries ?u probably meant under the ottoman rule Faruk.u should use this term for english occupiers. i dont know why greeks, arabs and other nations consider the ottomans invaders.they dont even recognize the ottoman empire in the past by calling that era ' under turkish or ottoman occupation'. nationalism is evil indeed.they have no respect for ottoman heritage. no wonder historical ottoman places and mosques are damaged in balkan and arab countries.

Johanna Dew

12/25/2012 2:14:34 PM

I didn't know that the Hagia Sophia was build by Turks?.)

Faruk Beisser

12/25/2012 12:33:00 PM

First, items are sold and now Comes Gülen/Erbakan AKP and claims these items to be stolen! What wonderfully warped thinking! Then how about returning everything that was really robbed and stolen during the Ottoman occupation of the Arab countries?
< >


AcerPro S.I.P.A HTML & CSS Agency