Turkish security forces confiscated around 851 pieces of historical artifacts and detained seven suspects in an anti-smuggling operation in southeastern Turkey's Diyarbakır province, the local governorship said in a statement Friday.
In the operation carried out by the provincial gendarmerie command's anti-terrorism units in the Kulp neighborhood of Diyarbakır Thursday, security forces seized 850 bronze coins and a gold one from the Roman and Byzantine periods while smugglers were about to sell the pieces, the statement said.
Turkey has been fighting for the return of the stolen pieces at home and abroad.
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.