Italian authorities return Turkey’s 1,800-year-old artifact

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Italian authorities have returned a historical inscription dating to the ancient Lycian era to the Turkish foreign mission after decades of judicial wrangling about ownership.

This was disclosed by the Turkish envoy to Rome on September 18, 2020.

The artifact is 1,800 years old and depicts the regret of parents whose sons committed theft.

It was smuggled out of Turkey to Italy and was found by Italian authorities during a raid in 1997.

The artifact was received by ambassador Murat Saim Esenli and an accompanying delegation from Claudio Mauti, an Italian officer in charge of the anti-smuggling department.

Esenli said, “The judicial process continued for more than two decades and i praise Italian authorities for taking good care of the artifact amid the process.”

The Turkish diplomat adds that “The return of the inscription would further add to the good relations between Ankara and Rome… The move had historical, academic as well as bureaucratic and judicial aspects.”

According to Esenl, Turkey and Italy enjoyed positive ties in the sense of cultural coordination as Italy returned a historical vase in 1991.

He stated that smuggling historical artifacts still continued and both countries should reach an agreement regarding the protection of cultural properties.

Luca Brachi, a lawmaker representing the Turkish side during the trials, said the process was prolonged because judges in charge of the case were changed, but he was pleased with the conclusion.

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