No official request for Santa Claus' bones, says Turkish minister
ANTALYA - Anatolia News Agency
AA PhotoTurkish authorities made no official request to retrieve the bones of Saint Nicholas (the original Santa Claus) that were taken out of the country in 1087, Turkey's Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay said today during a visit to the southern province of Antalya.
“We made no official requests for [the bones]," Günay said. “I have said before that it would be right to have them back in the future when we complete our memorial museum. I believe prominent artifacts will return to their homeland one day.”
Saint Nicholas was born in the Aegean region and lived in ancient town of Myra, in Lycia, which is today called Demre. The Saint Nicholas Church was built in the fourth century A.D., and is now a museum that attracts scores of visitors, especially Orthodox tourists.
The bones of Saint Nicholas were allegedly taken from Turkey by force to be buried in a church in the Bari province of Italy, according to scholar Nevzat Çelik, who called on the Vatican to return them to Turkey last week.