Turkey backs Greek fight for Elgin Marbles

Turkey backs Greek fight for Elgin Marbles

ATHENS – Anadolu Agency
Turkey backs Greek fight for Elgin Marbles

A visitor walks past the headless, reclining sculpture of the river god Ilissos at the State Hermitage Museum as part of its 250th anniversary celebration in St Petersburg, Dec. 6. The British Museum said on Friday it had loaned one of the Elgin Marbles to Russia, the first time any of the ancient sculptures have left Britain since they were taken from the Parthenon in Athens 200 years ago. REUTERS Photo

Turkey on Dec. 6 announced its support for Greece’s fight to get back from Britain the famous Elgin Marbles - ancient Greek sculptures also known as the Parthenon Marbles which were taken from Athens in the 19th century.

The dispute over the British Museum’s possession of the sculptures, taken by British diplomat Lord Elgin in 1803, flared this week when Greece learned of the unprecedented loan of one sculpture to a Russian museum.

The support from Turkey came during a visit by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to Athens. “We support Greece in its efforts to return the god Ilissos to the Acropolis museum,” he said at a press conference alongside his Greek counterpart Antonis Samaras.“The return of works of a nation’s cultural heritage is very important,” Davutoğlu added.

He was referring to the loan of the sculpture of the Greek river god Ilissos, a headless, reclining male figure, to the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg where it went on display from Dec. 6 until Jan. 18.

It is the first time one of the sculptures has left their controversial British home and the deal is all the more striking because Britain has joined tough EU economic sanctions against Russia over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine conflict.