Gold-plated ancient Torah seized by Turkish security forces in anti-smuggling drive

Published 18.04.2017 00:31
Updated 18.04.2017 00:32

An ancient Torah, estimated to be worth at least $3 million, was recovered in an anti-smuggling drive in southern Turkey's Adana last week, the Interior Ministry announced Monday.

Alongside the gold-plated Torah, which is written on gazelle skin, an ancient decree was also seized in the operation, the ministry said in a statement.

Authorities, however, did not elaborate on the details of the operation or whether they were questioning any of the suspects.

The Torah's place of origin could not be initially determined and it will now be examined by experts to find out when it was actually written.

Previously in 2012, police in Adana had confiscated a 1,900-year-old Torah, which was smuggled in from Syria.

Lawlessness in neighboring Syria, mired with an ongoing civil war, has made Turkey a destination for smuggling antiquities from the country.

Authorities have stepped up efforts to prevent smuggling and sale of smuggled artifacts. The Turkish government has also issued a list of artifacts, believed to be stolen from Syria, and warned customs agents, collectors and others against purchasing them.

Another Torah, believed to be 600-years-old, was confiscated in Istanbul in April 2016, when a suspect tried to sell it to undercover police officers.

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