Golden Crown of Hecatomnus to be returned
The tomb of Hecatomnus, the father of Mausolus, whose burial chamber (Mausoleum of Halicarnassus) in Bodrum is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, was robbed in 2008 and the stolen golden crown was found two years later in Scotland.
It was reported that Murat AksakallÄ±, 50, who manages a cafÃ© in the Scottish capital Edinburgh, and his business partners Ali Sanal and HakkÄ± Ãzbey made talks with the officials of Sothebyâs and Bonhams auction houses in Edinburgh in order to find a buyer for the crown.
Scottish police got in touch with these three Turks in 2010, pretending to be a buyer, and seized the crown. When questioned, AksakallÄ± defended himself saying, âI inherited it from my grandfather FazÄ±l AksakallÄ± who died in ÃemiÅgezek [district in eastern Tunceli province]. I had kept it for years and then forgot it. But I decided to sell it when my carrier companies got into financial trouble.â The case later went to court.
Judge Frank Mulholland did not file a criminal action against AksakallÄ±. Turkey, after learning about it from Interpol, became a party in the court. Scottish lawyers were hired. Creating an interesting legal example, they sent the golden crown to Ankara on condition that it will be returned.
The gold findings in the Hecatomnus mausoleum were examined and compared with the crown at the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority, which determined that it had being stolen from the tomb, and was later sent to Scotland.
The value of the crown is 250,000 British pounds in court records but Scottish experts said its real value is 1 million pounds.
On Dec. 2, the court ordered the return of the crown to Turkey. It is now set to be brought to Ankara in the coming days and then sent to the Milas Museum after being displayed there.
On Jan. 17, 2008, treasure hunters dug the bottom of a house in the HisarbaÅÄ± neighborhood of Milas. Then they found the âtomb of the centuryâ in Milas after the âtreasury of the century,â Karun, and the âtrove of the century,âElmalÄ±.
Refia MeraÅ was living with her husband Osman Diken in the house, which was built on a burial chamber, called Uzunyuva. Diken was aware of the treasure under the house. As treasure hunters attempted to dig the bottom of the house from time to time, Diken cemented the possible entrances of the burial chamber under the house.
MeraÅâs relative, treasure hunter YÃ¼ksel Okur, was also one of those who attempted to dig the house. But Diken, who was taken to the BeÃ§in district by MeraÅâs brothers, was found dead there. The cause of his death is not known.
MeraÅâs daughter AyÅen had the title of the house, inherited from Diken, and later on it was sold. Right after the sale, Deli YÃ¼ksel was found dead on July 21, 2008. The cause of his death is still not known.
AyÅen was married to Fuat Bilgin, who wanted to dig the house, but MeraÅ objected to him. Bilgin went against MeraÅâs resistance by founding a natural gas company under the name of his brother Fatih Bilgin in Denizli on Sept. 1, 2006. He made MeraÅ one of the partners of the company, too.
When learning about these developments from an informant in October 2009, Milas Museum Director Erol Ãzen informed Milas Chief of Police Department Ãmer Faruk KarataÅ and officer SavaÅ GÃ¼nday.
For some reason, KarataÅ and Ãzen were appointed to different posts after seven to eight months.
In March and April 2010, the same informant reported that strange things were happening around the mausoleum as cars with foreign number plates were coming and going. He claimed that the real reason why the house was put up for sale for 1 million liras was to smuggle the burial chamber.
The Milas Museum Directorate learned that the house was sold to Mehmet Ãzeken and DoÄan Acar and informed those who conducted the information.
The Cultural Heritage and Museums General Director at the time, Murat SÃ¼slÃ¼, who knows the area very well since he was the former provincial culture director, went to Milas for investigation.
Then Culture and Tourism Minister ErtuÄrul GÃ¼nay made examinations in the burial chamber and made an interesting statement. âIt is better if the Interior Ministry inspectors get their hands on it,â he had said.
The Milas Public Prosecutor transferred the investigation to the gendarmerie forces after seeing that the police did nothing since Uzunyuva was robbed.
Meanwhile, a museum director was appointed to ÃdemiÅ. âThe director had worked in Milas for a long time. Let him work in another place,â said Milas district governor.
As far as I understand, the director was suspended from Milas upon his proposal.