Nearly 5,000 cultural assets returned to Turkey in last 18 years
A total of 4,862 cultural assets were returned to Turkey between 2003 and 2021, according to data given by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Authorities continue to work in coordination with relevant institutions in order to prevent cultural property smuggling and bring back Turkish origin artifacts found abroad.
In this framework, 4,862 works have been brought to Turkey since 2003, with 423 of them been returned in the first six months of this year.
As a result of the efforts, 413 pieces of cultural property were brought from Hungary on Feb. 26 and three tiles belonging to the Ulu Mosque in the southern province of Adana were brought from the Netherlands on June 9.
The countries that returned smuggled artifacts to Turkey are the United States, Germany, Austria, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bulgaria, France, Croatia, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Serbia.
One terracotta female figurine and one male figurine head purchased in 2016 from an auction house operating in the French capital were also returned to Turkey voluntarily by a Turkish history buff.
These artifacts, which date back to the Middle Bronze Age, were preserved at the Ankara Anatolian Civilizations Museum last week.
In addition to these, two terracotta pots donated to the Arizona Natural History Museum in 1986 were received by Turkey’s Consulate-General to Los Angeles due to their Anatolian origin.
Pointing out that these underwater finds were double-handled vessels used in the Late Roman and Byzantine periods, the experts drew attention to the fact that this type of pottery was used in the galleys of ships.
Among the artifacts returned to Turkey through the Consulate General are two amphorae of Anatolian origin.
According to experts, these amphorae were used in ancient times to store or transport foods such as grain, fish, honey and figs, as well as other liquid products.
However, among the cultural assets repatriated in the last year, the statue of Kybele stands out most importantly.
The historical statue of Kybele, the pre-historic goddess of fertility, which was smuggled from the Central Anatolian province of Afyonkarahisar to Israel in the 1960s and sold there, was brought back to Turkey after the strenuous efforts of Turkish authorities with the support of the U.S. internal security units at the beginning of 2021.
The 1,700-year-old marble statue believed to be dating back to the third century A.D. is currently on display at the Istanbul Archeology Museum. It will be moved to the Afyonkarahisar Museum once its construction is complete, which is expected to finish by May or June of next year.