Twelve antiquities smuggled out of Türkiye are coming back home, Türkiye’s Consul General in New York announced Wednesday.
“The momentum of the cooperation is not only encouraging deeper cooperation between Türkiye and the US but is also inspiring for the global community combating cultural property smuggling,” Reyhan Ozgur said at a repatriation ceremony. “It sends a clear and strong message to all smugglers, dealers and collectors that illegal purchase, possession and sale of cultural artifacts will have consequences.”
Ozgur said the smuggling of antiquities poses a “tremendous threat to our common cultural heritage.”
“That is why as the Republic of Türkiye, within this group of artifacts, there are pieces from every different region of our country such as Burdur, Konya, Sanliurfa, Canakkale, Manisa, Antalya and Eastern Anatolia,” he said.
Underlining Türkiye’s efforts to fight cultural property smuggling and protect the cultural heritage of Anatolian lands, which hosted many civilizations, Ozgur said 1,203 cultural properties were returned to Türkiye between 2002 and 2023.
Noting a Memorandum of Understanding with the US, Ozgur said Türkiye’s Culture and Tourism Ministry played a role in bringing the facts together.
New York County Assistant District Attorneys Matthew Bogdanos and Lisa DelPizzo also expressed happiness about the repatriation, adding they will continue to work closely with Türkiye.
New York Cultural Attache officials said the twelve artifacts will be sent to Türkiye via a Turkish Airlines cargo flight later Wednesday.
Among the historical artifacts was a Bronze Statue of Septimus Severus from Burdur’s Boubon Ancient City, which has special importance, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.