Thanks to a tip-off, gendarmerie units in the western Turkish province of Isparta caught a smuggler and three potential buyers of a face of a Roman-era sarcophagus.
The smuggler, identified as M.D., was attempting to sell the 1,600-year-old Sidamara-type sarcophagus face for 700,000 Turkish liras ($130,500).
Authorities said the artifact, which was seized in the town of Kuleönü, was about 70 centimeters (28 inches) long and weighed about 100 kilograms (220 pounds).
Police detained M.D. along with three suspected buyers, Y.D., B.A. and O.A.
The suspects are being questioned by authorities.
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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