A total of 1,120 smuggled artifacts have been brought back to Turkey in 2022, a high-rank police officer has announced.
Speaking to Demirören News Agency, Burcu Özdemir, the head of the police department of anti-trafficking of artifacts abroad, highlighted that the total number of artifacts brought back to the country in the last two decades has reached some 9,000 with the addition of the latest ones.
The police chief also pointed out that nearly 400,000 artifacts of all sizes have been seized in operations and delivered to museums before being smuggled to other countries.
When asked how her department functions, Özdemir said her team is working with academics and experts from the museums.
“We prepare a list of smuggled objects and artifacts based on these experts’ suggestions and then deliver these lists to the mentioned countries via the Turkish Foreign Ministry,” she said.
Türkiye has bilateral agreements with some 12 countries to exchange smuggled artifacts with each other. “The latest deals were signed with Serbia, Ecuador and Switzerland in 2022,” she added.
According to Özdemir, countries involved in the trade of cultural properties should be sensitive while working in cooperation with Türkiye, home of artifacts due to many Anatolian civilizations.