From online dispatches
An early copy of the Bible seized in Gaziantep in 2001 was claimed to be written by John the Apostle. Hürriyet photo
A centuries-old copy of the Bible that contains early teachings of Jesus Christ has been in the Turkish state's possession for the past 12 years, daily Bugün reported today.
The Vatican reportedly placed an official request to examine the scripture, which was written on pages made of animal hide in the Aramaic language using the Syriac alphabet.
The book was seized by the police from a smuggling gang in 2000 in Turkey's Mediterranean region and since placed in Ankara's Justice Hall. There, it waited for eight years before being transferred to the Ethnography Museum with a police escort, the report said.
Examinations at the museum showed the book was written in Aramaic, the language thought to be spoken by Jesus Christ, using Syriac lettering. The only remaining speakers of Aramaic live in a village near Damascus.
If not captured by the police, the copy of the Bible could have been sold at a price as high as 40 million Turkish Liras, the report said.