Turkish lawmakers in Europe to retrieve smuggled artifacts


Lawmakers of a parliamentary committee established to track down artifacts smuggled abroad from Turkey will visit France's Louvre Museum and the British Museum this week to discuss artifacts currently kept there, Turkish media reported.

The artifacts being sought for return to Turkey range from pieces of ancient statues to ornaments stolen from Ottoman-era tombs and mosques.

Turkey has been fighting for the return of stolen pieces at home and abroad. This 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. In September, Turkey recovered the Roman sarcophagus of Hercules from Switzerland after it had been smuggled from the ancient city of Perge in the southern Antalya province half a century ago.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) last year, the committee's head, Mustafa İsen, said during the visits they plan to make a list of every item that was smuggled out of the country over the last 130 years. "We aim to show to the world how seriously Turkey takes this issue."

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