ISTANBUL: Istanbul police confiscated 26,456 ancient artifacts and detained 13 smugglers in Turkey’s “most extensive anti-smuggling operation” to date, reports said Thursday.
According to reports, police squads carried out the Istanbul-based operation after three months of technical and physical surveillance. Artifacts confiscated in the operation are from the Byzantine and Roman Empires, as well as the Middle Ages, and include coins, plinths and stone art pieces.
The smugglers were planning to sell the artifacts abroad, reports said. The confiscated artifacts will be handed over to Istanbul Archaeology Museum. In recent years, Turkey stepped up efforts to prevent smuggling and has launched initiatives to retrieve stolen artifacts.
Turkey also cooperates with Interpol, which offers a comprehensive database of artifacts reported stolen and missing.