Turkish security forces on Monday seized a total of 656 historical artifacts in an anti-smuggling operation in the eastern province of Van.
According to a statement by the office of Van governorate, police officers stopped and searched a passenger bus after a tip-off and found the artifacts in a suitcase of a passenger.
Belonging to Roman and Byzantium eras, the artifacts included coins, rings, brooches and seals.
The unidentified passenger was detained, and an investigation was launched into the incident.
Thousands of anti-smuggling operations are carried out 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 foreign visitors each year.