In order to find historical artifacts of Anatolian origin, 2 thousand 955 historical artifacts were returned with the "Anatolian Operation" initiated for international historical artifact smuggling. Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu held a joint press conference about the artifacts.
In his speech at the meeting, Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy stated that 2 artifacts consisting of coins, seals and scale weights returned from Croatia cover a period of 955 years.
Ersoy held a press conference with Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu at the General Directorate of Security (EGM) additional service building regarding the artifacts returned to Turkey from Croatia.
Expressing his happiness for holding such meetings frequently, Ersoy said that the steps they took with the determination to protect the richness of these lands, of which the nation is the founder and heir, yielded results.
Pointing out that the Department of Anti-Smuggling, which was established in March last year within the body of its ministries, fully focused on its field and operating in a multi-faceted manner, has achieved significant success in the international arena as well as in the country, Ersoy said that this year, the highest number of the last 10 years has been reached, with 525 works in the dormitory. He emphasized that the fact that he was brought from abroad unequivocally revealed this fact.
Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said, “The total number of works consisting of coins, seals and scales, which are the subjects of our meeting today, is 2 thousand 955. At this point, I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Minister of Interior. Because our Ministry of Interior offers a very serious cooperation and support in our work with all relevant units.” he said.
Pointing out that the seizure of these artifacts returned from Croatia and the arrest of the suspect was due to the "Anatolia Operation" carried out by the Department of Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ersoy continued his words as follows:
“This operation, which was carried out simultaneously in 30 different provinces, including the center of Adana, and which includes countries such as Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria on its international leg, is a first in both its scope and the first historical artifact smuggling operation in the history of the Republic, for the proceeds of crime. Congratulations once again. With the Anatolian Operation, which we supported as the Ministry with our central and provincial organizations, more than 20 thousand cultural assets were seized without being smuggled abroad and handed over to the Adana Museum Directorate.”
Ersoy reminded that they shared the important results of this operation for the first time at the ceremony held at the Troy Museum last August for the presentation of the artifacts stolen from the churches in Gökçeada to the Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew.
Minister Ersoy congratulated all the personnel of the Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Department who contributed to the Anatolian Operation.
Stating that the artifacts were seized at the Bajakovo-Batrovci border crossing between Serbia and Croatia, Ersoy said that on April 7, 2019, a Turkish citizen who wanted to cross, had a large number of coins and archaeological materials found by the Croatian authorities.
Ersoy stated that the return process started after the General Directorate of Security reported the situation to the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums. He also stated that he was able to assign them to Croatia.
Ersoy thanked the experts who took part in the extradition process and continued his words as follows:
“The meticulous work they carried out revealed without a doubt that the artifact group consisting of many coins, lead seal impressions and weights is of Anatolian origin. We forwarded the detailed report prepared in this direction to the Croatian authorities and persistently followed the issue. I hope that the protective attitude, outstanding hospitality and cooperation shown by Croatia will be remembered as an example of the best implementation of the UNESCO 1970 Convention. As a result, on December 1, 2021, the artifacts were brought to Turkey and kept in Ankara Anatolian Civilizations Museum.”
“II. Mahmut's gold coin is also in this collection.
Culture and Tourism Minister Ersoy stated that the coins seized differ in terms of period, region and usage, and that there are both Anatolian city coins and coins minted in the 5th century BC that have common validity almost everywhere in Anatolia.
Pointing out that the earliest examples of Islamic coins, which are Arab-Byzantine minted, are among the works seized, Ersoy said, “When we look at the civilizational origins of the coins, we see Roman, Cappadocia, Seleucid, Pontus, Cilicia, Umayyad, Ilkhanid-Seljuk and Ottoman coins. As for the time period, we can say that the coins recovered cover a period of approximately 2300 years.” said.
Ottoman Sultan II. Stating that the gold coin belonging to Mahmut is also included in this collection, Ersoy noted that there are gold, silver and copper coins in the collection.
Emphasizing that an important and special collection has returned to the land it belongs to, Ersoy said, "The stamps from the 5th to the 11th centuries, which were used as postal seals, imperial seals, saint seals and church seals in the Byzantine period, and bronze scale weights, all of Anatolian character and belonging to the Roman-Byzantine period." He also stated that he had a refund.
The importance of international agreements
Emphasizing that as the Ministry, they will resolutely continue the fight against cultural property smuggling by taking legal and legal steps in the country and in the international arena, as well as establishing cooperation between countries through diplomacy, Ersoy continued as follows:
“On this occasion, I would like to share with you the information that 9 international agreements have been signed with Iran, Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, China, Peru, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and the United States in order to prevent cultural property smuggling. We continue to work with Switzerland and Serbia for new agreements. I believe that it will be possible to crown our efforts with Croatia with a bilateral agreement that we will use effectively.”
Pointing to the deterrence of the two agreements in preventing the smuggling of historical artifacts, Ersoy noted that the correct implementation of these agreements discourages treasure hunters.
Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy stated that every work they have done so far in this field is an example of serious cooperation, and said, “I would like once again to ask every individual of our nation to show the same sensitivity and to protect the relics of our lands and ancestors together with us.” said.
Croatian Ambassador to Ankara Hrvoje Cvitanovic, bureaucrats from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Interior attended the press conference.
Ministers Ersoy and Soylu presented plaques to the Chief of Police Mehmet Aktaş and the Gendarmerie General Commander General Arif Çetin.
A souvenir photo was taken with the KOM team that participated in the Anatolian Operation.