Turkey detains 47 suspects over artifact smuggling

Ankara: Turkish police have detained 47 suspects in large-scale operations against an international artifact smuggling network, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said Thursday.

Following operations conducted in 24 provinces, the police seized 6,325 ancient coins and 997 other historical artifacts in the western Izmir province, Yerlikaya said on X.

The minister added that the suspects obtained historical artifacts belonging to Türkiye through unlawful excavations and illegally sold them to auction houses abroad to gain unfair profits, reports Xinhua news agency.

An examination of the suspects’ bank account movements revealed that five auction houses in Europe and the United States transferred approximately 72 million liras (2.19 million US dollars) in foreign currency to the ringleader of the organisation and his family members.

Some 1,057 historical artifacts of Turkish origin seized in Croatia in 2020 and returned to Turkey were also taken abroad as part of the organisation’s activities.

–IANS

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