US university to send ‘Gypsy Girl’ mosaic pieces to Turkey on Nov. 26: Minister
Twelve ancient Zeugma mosaic pieces looted during illegal excavations in Turkey’s southeastern province of Gaziantep nearly 50 years ago will be returned to the country from the U.S. on Nov. 26, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said on Nov. 19.
“I am happy to share the information that the pieces of the Gypsy Girl mosaic held at the Ohio Bowling Green State University will return to Gaziantep at the end of this month,” Ersoy said in a statement.
The 12 pieces are currently being displayed at the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Ohio. The BGSU purchased the pieces for $35,000 in 1965 from antiquities dealer Peter Marks at the Peter Marks Works of Art, a now-shuttered New York gallery. The pieces were eventually restored and installed under thick protective glass in the floor of the Wolfe Center for the Arts at the university, which opened in 2012.
In May, the BGSU signed an agreement with the Turkish culture and tourism ministry at the time to return the ancient pieces. BGSU President Rodney Rogers, during the signing ceremony, said they took it as a legal and ethical duty to return the tile fragments to Turkey.
Since then, Turkish authorities have been in continuous contact with the BGSU for the relevant returning procedures to take place.
The “Gypsy Girl” mosaic is considered to be the most important artifact of the Zeugma Mosaic Museum in Gaziantep – the world’s biggest mosaic museum which opened in 2011.
The museum covers an area of 30,000 square meters and includes three different buildings, which have five seminar and conference rooms, administrative units, a library and exhibition fields. According to officials, the first question visitors ask is about the Gypsy Girl mosaic.
The mosaic is displayed in a special section on the museum’s second floor.