1,200-year-old Bible seized in southeastern Turkey’s Diyarbakır

Published 05.02.2019 11:05
Updated 05.02.2019 16:32
emAA Photo/em
AA Photo

Security forces on Tuesday seized a Bible said to be 1,200 years old in southeastern Turkey's Diyarbakır province.

According to the Diyarbakır governor's office, local gendarmerie received intel that someone was looking to sell an ancient Bible manuscript written on leather with gold-encrusted motifs.

Suspects were caught red-handed while trying to sell the 34-page manuscript.

Security forces said six people were detained in connection with the incident.

Diyarbakır is located near the Turkish border with Syria. It is not known if the Bible was smuggled from the war-torn country, but Turkey has become a primary destination for those smuggling antiquities from Syria.

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

Thousands of anti-smuggling operations are carried across Turkey every year to halt the illegal sale of historical objects and protect the country's rich cultural heritage.

The issue is crucial to a country that is home to about 3,000 ancient cities from 42 civilizations, and whose tourism industry relies on its rich historical heritage to attract millions of foreigners each year.

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