Turkish security forces confiscated more than 2,500 Roman and Hellenistic-era coins along with several other historical artifacts in an anti-smuggling operation in central Turkey's Kayseri province Tuesday.
The anti-smuggling branch of the provincial security directorate seized 2,505 coins, estimated to date back to the East Roman Empire and Hellenistic period. A horse statuette, ring and other metal objects were also seized.
The suspect, identified as S.Y., was caught red-handed by police after authorities discovered his plan to sell the artifacts.
The artifacts were later delivered to the provincial museum's directorate.
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.