'Picasso' painting seized in Turkey's east

A painting said to be by Pablo Picasso was seized in the eastern Turkish province of Erzurum on April 6, the security forces have said, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.     

Teams from Erzurum's Provincial Gendarmerie Command said they learned that the painting was being brought to Erzurum from the eastern province of Van in an attempt to sell it for $5 million.      

Gendarmes stopped a car carrying three suspects, later identified only by their initials A.D., I.A. and S.K., who were arrested in Erzurum's Horasan district.      

Apart from the unconfirmed Picasso, reportedly stolen from Iraq's State Museum, three ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic manuscripts were also seized, the gendarmerie stated.      

According to initial inspections, the painting carries a Picasso signature on the front, dated 1939. The rear side of the painting, a portrait  of a smiling young man, carries seals and information claiming that the painting belongs to the famous Spanish artist.        

The Turkish authorities have put the painting into storage in order to further investigate its authenticity with representatives from Erzurum's main museum and Atatürk University's History of Art Department.        

Last year local media reported that Turkish police seized another famous painting by the great Spanish artist in Istanbul.        

However, the Paris-based Picasso Administration later said the seized artwork was a fake and the original, entitled "Women Dressing Her Hair," was in New York's Museum of Modern Art.        

Earlier in 2017, five suspects including a police officer and a retired police chief, were arrested while trying to sell another "Picasso" painting.

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