Turkish security forces seized early manuscripts of the Bible in an anti-smuggling operation in northwestern Turkey's Bursa province Tuesday.
Acting on intelligence, undercover provincial gendarmerie units set-up a meeting with the smuggling suspects, posing as historical artifact purchasers.
The security forces detained four suspects who brought the manuscripts to the meeting at a shopping mall in Osmangazi district.
The two Bible manuscripts seized in the operation are worth $1.75 million, authorities said. The manuscripts date back almost 2,000 years to early Christianity, according to Demirören News Agency.
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.