Islamic Turkey: all your infidel art belongs to us!

Don’t Send Any Non-Islamic Art Back To Muslim-Ruled Turkey

Museums Fret As Turks Seek Return of Art


ISTANBUL — An aggressive campaign by Turkey to reclaim antiquities it says were looted has led in recent months to the return of an ancient sphinx and many golden treasures from the region’s rich past. But it has also drawn condemnation from some of the world’s largest museums, which call the campaign cultural blackmail.


Turkey: Famous fifth-century monastery to be turned into a mosque

More indication of the rapid Islamization of Turkey. It is noteworthy also that none of the world’s “human rights” organizations seem concerned about this, or the worsening plight of the remaining tiny Christian minority in Turkey, at all. “Studios Monastery Will Be Turned Into a Mosque,” from Mystagogy, March 2 (thanks to JW)


In their latest salvo, Turkish officials this summer filed a criminal complaint in the Turkish court system seeking an investigation into what they say was the illegal excavation of 18 objects that are now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Norbert Schimmel collection.

Last year, Turkish officials recalled, Turkey’s director-general of cultural heritage and museums, Murat Suslu, presented Met officials with a stunning ultimatum: prove the provenance of ancient figurines and golden bowls in the collection, or Turkey could halt lending treasures. Turkey says that threat has now gone into effect.

“We know 100 percent that these objects at the Met are from Anatolia,” the Turkish region known for its ancient ruins, Mr. Suslu, an archaeologist, said in an interview. “We only want back what is rightfully ours.”

The world belongs to allah and his profit. There won’t be an end to this until we make an end to it.

Turkey’s efforts have spurred an international debate about who owns antiquities after centuries of shifting borders. Museums like the Met, the Getty, the Louvre and the Pergamon in Berlin say their mission to display global art treasures is under siege from Turkey’s tactics.

Museum directors say the repatriation drive seeks to alter accepted practices, like a widely embraced Unesco convention that lets museums acquire objects that were outside their countries of origin before 1970. Although Turkey ratified the convention in 1981, it is now citing a 1906 Ottoman-era law — one that banned the export of artifacts — to claim any object removed after that date as its own.

Thievery and looting are wrong, Turkey says, no matter when they occurred. “Artifacts, just like people, animals or plants, have souls and historical memories,” said Turkey’s culture minister, Ertugrul Gunay. “When they are repatriated to their countries, the balance of nature will be restored.”

Turkey is not alone in demanding the return of artifacts removed from its borders; Egyptand Greece have made similar demands of museums, and Italy persuaded the Met to return an ancient bowl known as the Euphronios krater in 2006.

But Turkey’s aggressive tactics, which come as the country has been asserting itself politically in the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring, have particularly alarmed museums. Officials here are refusing to lend treasures, delaying the licensing of archaeological excavations and publicly shaming museums.

The Turks are engaging in polemics and nasty politics,” said Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which oversees the Pergamon. “They should be careful about making moral claims when their museums are full of looted treasures” acquired, he said, by the Ottomans in their centuries ruling parts of the Middle East and southeast Europe.

One example is a prized sarcophagus named for Alexander the Great, discovered in Sidon, Lebanon, in 1887, and now in Istanbul’s Archaeological Museum. Mr. Suslu said the sarcophagus was legally Turkey’s because it had been excavated on territory that belonged to Turkey at the time.

Turkey’s campaign has enjoyed notable success, however. Last year the Pergamonagreed to return a 3,000-year-old sphinx from the Hittite Empire that Turkey said had been taken to Germany for restoration in 1917. German officials said Turkey had threatened to block major archaeological projects if the sphinx did not come home.

But even after it had, the Germans complained, Turkey still declined to collaborate and refused to lend four objects for a current exhibition. Mr. Suslu indicated that the Pergamon had to return other disputed items before loans would resume.

Mr. Parzinger said Turkey had no legal claim to the contested objects it says his museum has illegally, and that treating Germany like a petty thief puts more than a century of archaeological cooperation at risk and harms relations between the countries as Turkey seeks to join the European Union. He pointed out that Westerners had been at the forefront of safeguarding Turkey’s rich history.

“If all Westerners are just thieves and robbers,” he asked, “then who has been restoring their cultural heritage?”

In another victory for Turkey, last month the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology announced that it had agreed to lend indefinitely 24 artifacts to Turkey from ancient Troy whose murky provenance helped inspire the 1970 Unesco convention. Turkey, in turn, promised future loans and collaboration with the university. [what a crazed decision]

Some museum directors said that they feared that the surrender of the objects by the university, which acquired them in 1966, threatened to lead to a flood of further claims.

In September 2011, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, returned the top half of an 1,800-year-old statue, “Weary Herakles,” which the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, triumphantly took home on his government jet. [Greek art? Back to Turkey, where Greek artifacts, art, buildings, have ever since the conquest by Muslims  been destroyed, or looted, vandalized — see what was done to the art in the Hagia Sophia — only the frescoes in the former church now known as n as the Kariya Djami — Underwood did a 2-volume study put out by the Bollingen Foundation — are still more or less intact]..

To press the Met for documentation on the Schimmel objects, Turkish officials said they had refused to lend to a Met exhibition that ran this year, “Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition.”

The Met denied it had asked Turkey for pieces for the show. Its director, Thomas P. Campbell, said in an interview that the Met believed the objects sought by Turkey had been legally acquired by Norbert Schimmel in the European antiquities market in the 1960s before being donated to the museum in 1989, and thus were in compliance with the Unesco accord.

He acknowledged that most of the objects had no documented ownership history, but also said that there was no evidence of an illicit excavation. Turkish officials said they had not yet uncovered evidence proving that the objects had been illegally smuggled out.

“If evidence emerges that the objects were illegally excavated or looted, we will address that on a case-by-case basis,” Mr. Campbell said.

Mr. Campbell said the argument that objects should always be returned to their countries of origin was dubious, given that many artifacts had traveled throughout the centuries. “We are in the business of celebrating Turkish culture,” he said, “and it is the great displays in London, Paris and New York, more than anything else, that will encourage people to go to Turkey and explore their cultural heritage, and not just the sun and beach.

Marc Masurovsky, an expert on plundered art at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, said it was no surprise that in the absence of an international agency to enforce anti-plunder measures, the Turks were resorting to hard-nosed diplomacy. But Turkey faces hurdles trying to apply an Ottoman law outside its borders, he noted. And even if that law is accepted as applicable, dating the illegal excavation of any site is difficult because no records are typically kept.

Still, Mr. Suslu said nothing justified theft, and he pointed to the Louvre’s possession of late-16th-century Iznik tiles that had been stolen, he said, by the French restorer Albert Sorlin-Dorigny in the 1880s. The tiles, from the mausoleum of Sultan Selim II in Istanbul, were taken to Paris for repair, but he said Sorlin-Dorigny gave them to the Louvre in 1895 instead of returning them.

The Louvre did not respond to messages seeking comment. Turkish officials said that the French insist that the tiles were given to Sorlin-Dorigny by a member of the royal family, but that they did not offer any documentary proof.

“Who in his right mind would give a present from his own relative’s tomb to a foreign country?” Mr. Suslu asked. “If you come to my house and you steal precious objects from me, do I not have a right to get them back?”

8 thoughts on “Islamic Turkey: all your infidel art belongs to us!”

  1. The 18 art objects demanded by Turkey date back to a time when Turkey was not Islamic. They are Jahalliya and will be destroyed if the MET is stupid enough to give them to Turkey. It may not happen now but a Turkish Taleban of the future will certainly do so.

  2. “Being a Muslim today means to be always aware that something, somewhere, is somehow offensive to Islam,” said a report issued by WHO, a specialized agency of the UN that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. “It is a shame to see the wealthiest nations of the world stingily hold on to their pockets in the face of the largest epidemic of reality-induced psychological disorder in human history.”

    The WHO report provides a list of symptoms of the Offended Muslim Syndrome, suggesting that the condition be officially recognized as a disability, with the ensuing costs covered by Western governments.
    The report also includes advice and recommendations by leading UN-affiliated health professionals:

    Symptoms of Offended Muslim Syndrome (OMS)
    Irritability, agitation, anxiety at the sight of women who are not fully covered
    Prolonged rage or unexplained killing sprees
    Significant changes in immigration patterns
    Brooding about the past glory of the Caliphate
    Decreased effectiveness and minimal work productivity
    Difficulty in understanding new information without a trial lawyer
    Feelings of despair or hopelessness about the existence of Israel
    Recurring thoughts of death to the infidels

    Great stuff.

  3. “Thievery and looting are wrong,” says the Turk.

    Spoken without the slightest traces of irony or self-deprecating humour from the Turkish mouthpiece.

    The West should absolutely not give in to Turkey’s blackmail-ever. And Penn State will come to regret their naive lending of objects they can kiss goodbye.

    Furthermore, Hermann Parzinger is correct it is and was the West that have paid for the care and protection for historical and cultural objects found throughout Turkey and the ME. And Turkey ‘IS’ filled with objects they looted from the West.

    Call their bluff because the reality is it is Turkey who will be the biggest losers. It is Turkish scholarship and preservation that will suffer.

  4. “Thievery and looting are wrong,” says the Turk.
    But endorsed if you are a Muslim.
    Perhaps the museums could utilize a little taqiyya of their own and tell the complainants that the curators are all Muslims.

  5. “Thievery and looting are wrong,” says the Turk.

    Yup. Like the occupation of Cyprus and stealing it. Or the continued occupation Byzantium. and the destruction churches in that once centre of Christendom – place of great art, learning, philosophy, and civilisation generally.

    Turkey must be expelled from NATO.

  6. @Jennifer in Oz

    Or how about the museums tell them, that as everything is the will of Allah, Allah wanted the Western museum to have all the objects, so (shut up) take it up with Allah.


    Yep, Cyprus and he could say it with a straight face.

    If Europe was wise they would have viewed Cyprus as a study of what happens to Western society when Muslims occur in Europe in abnormally large numbers–It reverts to a degenerate state of poverty and decay…becoming a shithole.

    See wealth and modernity of Cyprus vs. Occupied Cyprus.

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