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'Stolen' Turkish artefacts to be returned

25th July 2011

A number of priceless artefacts that were allegedly looted from Turkey last century are being returned to the country as it steps up a campaign to retrieve lost sculptures, statues and paintings.

The latest artefact to be returned is the top half of a bust of the demigod Heracles, which Turkish authorities say was looted from the country in the early 1980s before being sold to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA).

It was displayed at the museum until 2007 but is now set to be returned to Turkey, after archaeologists found the lower half of the statue in Perge on Turkey's Mediterranean coast.

They have since compiled evidence proving that several items have been taken from the area without consent from the relevant authorities.

The MFA has previously claimed the bust could have been taken at any time in the last 300 years, with museum spokeswoman Katherine Getchell telling The Times: 'It's only in the last couple of years that they've presented us with photos and other evidence of looting from that site.'

Earlier this year, Turkey's culture minister, Ertugrul Gunay, threatened to ban international archaeologists from digging in the country if their respective nations were alleged to possess looted Turkish artefacts.

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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