Police in Istanbul confiscated 1,512 artifacts ranging from Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman coins to valuable documents from the 19th century in anti-smuggling operations yesterday.
Three suspects were detained. Suspects are accused of attempting to smuggle the artifacts abroad. One of them was a retired staff member of a private museum in Istanbul.
Among the artifacts were 10 "berats," documents to certify appointments bestowed by Ottoman sultans in the Divan-i Humayun (Imperial Council), the main executive organ of the empire. The rare items date back to the 18th century. Other artifacts include objects from the Hellenistic era, seals, arrowheads and crosses. Police are now investigating how the smugglers came into possession of the artifacts.