US returns $8 mln of stolen treasures to Türkiye

United States authorities have returned $8 million of stolen antiquities, some of which were plundered as far back as the 1960s to Türkiye, a prosecutor said on Dec. 5.

Among the 41 pieces returned were two Heads of the Roman emperor Caracalla and the Bust of a Lady which were trafficked from Bubon, a Roman-era site in southwest Türkiye which was extensively looted in the 1960s.

"During my administration we have returned 90 antiquities to Türkiye, valued at more than $60 million," said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, announcing the returns.

The pieces were returned at a ceremony attended by Türkiye's Deputy Culture Minister Gökhan Yazgı.

"Together I believe we can put an end to the blows dealt to the identity and history of nations," he said.

In his social media posts after the ceremony, Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Ersoy said, "We are proud. We received another group of works, which were illegally taken from the country, at the Turkish House in New York. As a result of our efforts with the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and the Homeland Security Investigations Unit, a total of 41 more cultural assets, including bronze heads, busts and silver statuettes, are returning home. The number of works we returned on the 100th anniversary of our republic reached 3,059. Our work continues to protect the heritage of these lands."

Three bronze statue heads, a bronze female bust and body parts of four bronze statues originating from the ancient city of Bubon, located in the İbecik village of Gölhisar district of Burdur province, are among the important works of Roman era sculpture in Anatolia.

The heads, one of a younger Caracalla that had been at the Fordham Museum of Art and one of an older...

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