Turkey demands return of artifacts
Turkey is on a collision course with many of the world’s leading museums, as it is refusing exhibition loans because of ongoing antiquities claims, according to Britain-based The Art Newspaper.
Earlier, it was reported that Turkey was refusing to lend artifacts to leading Britain and American museums until the issue of disputed antiquities had been resolved. Among the exhibitions that have so far been hit is a British Museum project on the Uluburun ship, the world’s oldest recovered wreck. Dating from the 14th century BC, it was discovered (along with its cosmopolitan cargo) in 1982, six miles off the south-west Turkish coast. It was put on display 12 years ago at the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Turkish culture ministry was not availbale for immediate comment on the issue.
European museums that are also being targeted include the Louvre, Berlin’s Pergamon Museum, the British Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
In America, claims are being lodged against Metropolitan Museum of Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Museum of Art and Dumbarton Oaks. Earlier, the Turkish government had contacted the Getty, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Cleveland Museum of Art and Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection to present evidence that objects in their collections may have been illegally excavated from the country’s archaeological sites, the Los Angeles Times reported last Saturday. It has threatened to halt all loans of art to these institutions until they respond to the claims. From Metropolitan Museum of Art, Turkey is claiming 18 items, all of which were donated by New York collector Herbert Schimmel in 1989. From Louvre, Turkey is claiming a set of important 1577 tiles from the mausoleum of Selim II in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, The Art Newspaper reported.