Ankara's extradition support to Athens

Thu, 6 Jun 2024 13:41 GMT
The support from Türkiye for the Elgin Marbles, which Greece has been trying for nearly 40 years to get back from the UK, was welcomed in the Greek media.
Ankara's extradition support to Athens

Zeynep Boz, Head of the Anti-Smuggling Department of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, supported Greece's arguments regarding the Parthenon sculptures at the UNESCO session, which had a positive repercussion in Athens.

Speaking at the 24th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee on the Restitution of Cultural Property to the Country of Origin or Return in the Event of Unlawful Detention (ICPRCP) organised by UNESCO in Paris on 29-30 May, Boz said: "We sincerely thank the Greek delegation for presenting their arguments with real and concrete evidence, as they have done for more than 40 years on the issue of the statues. As the head of the Anti-Smuggling Unit in Turkey, we are not aware of any document that legitimises this purchase by the colonial Britain at the time."

"Therefore, I don't think there is room to debate its legality, even under the laws of the time, and I wholeheartedly look forward to celebrating the return of the Parthenon sculptures, because we believe it signals a change of attitude towards the protection of cultural property and is the strongest message globally," Boz said.

Zeynep Boz's speech at the UNESCO session had a positive repercussion in Athens.

The UK has been claiming for years that there is an Ottoman edict authorising the transfer of the artefacts to the UK, but this document does not exist. Boz's statement is therefore seen as a refutation of the British authorities' arguments.

The Elgin Marbles, built between 447-432 BC and taken to Britain in the 19th century when Greece belonged to the Ottoman Empire, have long been the focus of a diplomatic dispute between Britain and Greece. Athens made the first application for the return of the artefacts, also known as the Parthenon Sculptures, to Greece in 1983.

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