Sunday, 14 December 2014

Artefacts returned to Turkish government

The ICE calls them "dozens of priceless historical artifacts dating back more than 2,500 years" (which is probably why some journalists have no problem with billion-dollar sums quoted for the antiquities trade). A load of artefacts looted in the Republic of Turkey and illegally smuggled into the United States were returned to the Turkish government Wednesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The artifacts were intercepted at Newark International Airport by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in February 2013 and HSI Newark returned the items Tuesday subsequent to an investigation that determined the artifacts were illegally smuggled out of Turkey using false documentation destined for an individual in Illinois. [...] The Turkish government received the following items dating to the 6th Century B.C.: 48 ancient arrowheads, 15 ancient coins, one ancient ring, one ancient metal horse trapping cheek piece HSI's specially trained investigators assigned to both domestic and international offices, partner with governments, agencies and experts to protect cultural antiquities. They also provide cultural property investigative training to law enforcement partners for crimes involving stolen property and art, and how to best enforce the law to recover these items when they emerge in the marketplace.
"Enforcing the law" involves punishing those breaking laws by selling and buying this stuff. The "individual in Illinois" is probably sitting at home now oblivious to the self-gratulatory HSI hoo-ha and smiling serenely as he sips red wine and browses dealers' pages to find more trophies for his growing collection. When are journalists going to ask routinely at such press presentations "yes, but what happened to the smugglers (consigner and conspiring consignee)?"

ICE, 'Priceless 6th Century B.C. historical artifacts returned to Turkish government', 10 December 2014.

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