Istanbul police confiscated 912 pieces of ancient coins and molds used in coin making, in anti-smuggling operations carried out in five districts, a report said Friday.
Police targeted smugglers in Istanbul's Fatih, Esenler and Şişli districts on the European side, confiscating coins from the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods as well as some from the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.
Five suspects were detained in the operations, Turkish daily Habertürk reported.
Police also confiscated 13 coin molds made out of wax, which were allegedly used to make fake ancient coins to be sold to foreign tourists.
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.
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