Saturday, 27 January 2018

Istanbul police arrest nine over artefact smuggling

Istanbul police say they have arrested at least nine people during a city-wide operation against historical artefact smugglers (Anadolu Agency Istanbul police arrest nine over artifact smuggling January 26, 2018):
'The simultaneous raids at five locations over the last two weeks were launched after police units from the Department of Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime received a tip. A total of 242 historical artifacts belonging to Sumerian, Assyrian, Byzantine, Seljuk, Ottoman and Hellenistic eras were confiscated. According to the police sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Sumerian artifacts >were looted from an ancient tomb in Syria by PKK-affiliated PYD terrorists and were due to be smuggled to Europe to fund the terrorist group'.
Note the way this is linked to 'terrorists' of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party PYD, with whom Turkey is of course now in open conflict. There are more details in the Daily Sabah version ('Istanbul police destroy smuggling ring planning to sell ancient Sumerian, Akkadian artifacts', January 26, 2018)
Istanbul police detained nine suspects who were trying to smuggle ancient Sumerian jewelry dating back 3,500-years, Assyrian and Akkadian seals, as well as Ottoman and Seljuk artifacts illegally obtained from the PKK-linked Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Daesh-controlled land in Syria and Iraq and use the proceedings for the PYD terrorist group, reports said Friday.[...] Artifacts confiscated in the operations include war equipment belonging to prominent commanders in the Seljuk Empire, including Afşin, Atsız, Artuk and Aksungur, 152 pieces of gold jewelry from the Sumerian Civilization dating back to 3,500 B.C., as well as seals from the Assyrian and Akkadian Empires [...] In addition, 78 artifacts from the Ottoman Empire and two artifacts from the Byzantine Empire [...] from the 8th century were also seized by the police.[...] The Mesopotamian artifacts were reportedly smuggled from Daesh-controlled lands, including Mosul and Babylonia in Iraq, Palmyra in Syria and other [sic] PYD-controlled lands.
Both of these reports contain fanciful thinking. Very rarely are there follow-up reports to such articles, giving the basis for the original interpretations, we will see if there is a court case of nine men 'financing terrorism'.

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