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Hellenistic jewellery, Greek icon and Byzantine artefacts seized in Turkey

Turkish police have seized Hellenistic jewellery with an approximate market value of 1 million Turkish liras ($267,000) from the flat of an antiquities smuggler in Turkey's western Muğla province.

Hellenistic jewellery, Greek icon and Byzantine artefacts seized in Turkey
Hellenistic jewellery seized by the anti-smuggling and organized crime officials displayed in Muğla province 
on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 [Credit: DHA]
Police carried out the raid on the suspect's flat after receiving a tip-off that he was involved in illegal excavation and the smuggling of cultural property.

Several pieces of Hellenistic jewelry, each from various eras, as well as four rifles were confiscated by security officials. The suspect was later arrested pending a court ruling and the items were given to Muğla Museum.

In a separate incident, a Greek icon of Jesus Christ believed to date back to the 18th century, was seized by Turkish police on Tuesday in the southern Adana province.

The icon, a religious painting on cloth, was found in a car which was stopped at a check point in the city's center. Two suspects were detained, with one of them claiming that the icon was inherited from his father.

The icon is 1.78 meters long and has "Grand Archiereus" - a Greek term for bishop - written on it. The piece was given to Adana Museum Directorate for examination.

Hellenistic jewellery, Greek icon and Byzantine artefacts seized in Turkey
Photo dated February 21, 2017, of the Greek icon believed to date back to the 18th century 
[Credit: DHA]
Finally, anti-smuggling teams from the Istanbul Police Department have detained a man over illegal excavation in the city's historical Sultanahmet neighbourhood, while also confiscating artifacts from the Byzantine era.

Upon receiving information of an ongoing illegal excavation under the historical walls in Sultanahmet, police units launched an operation on Wednesday, during which suspect H.Ö. was detained.

Police found a total of 23 clay cubes and ceramic pieces, two coins dating back to the Byzantine era and one belt buckle during body searches of the suspect, while numerous relics from the Byzantine era and the pre-Byzantine period were still located under soil on the excavation site.

The confiscated historical artifacts were sent to the Istanbul Archaeology Museum Directorate for further examination.

Suspect H.Ö. was brought to the anti-smuggling branch unit for questioning.

Each year hundreds of people, who want to take advantage of Turkey's rich historical remains, are detained over illegal excavation crimes.

Source: Daily Sabah [February 23, 2017]

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