Turkey Conducts Major Crackdown on Smuggling of Cultural Artifacts, Reports Say
ANKARA (Sputnik) - The Turkish police have carried out a major operation to bust a ring of historical artifact smugglers, the TRT broadcaster reported on Tuesday.
The police carried out the operation called "Anatolia" in 30 provinces simultaneously, after keeping an eye on 92 suspects for two years. As a result, 76 people were arrested, with an ongoing manhunt for others.
In the crackdown on the group, which operated in Turkey, Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia, law enforcement agencies have reportedly seized 4,122 illegally exported artifacts. Experts from the Turkish culture and tourism ministry confirmed that these items, whose value amounts to 26 million liras (over $3 million), belong to Anatolian civilizations.
The artifacts were smuggled to European countries and the United States and auctioned off with fake documents.