The Belgian couple who came to Antalya for a vacation were detained on suspicion of historical artifact smuggling

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The couple from Antwerp, Belgium, who came to Antalya for a vacation, were detained on suspicion of historical artifact smuggling during a security check at Antalya Airport.

Security officials, suspecting that the 3 pieces of stone in the couple’s suitcase could be historical artifacts, did not allow the Belgian couple to board their flight.

The couple named Kim and Warre, who were not allowed to board the plane to Belgium, said, “We brought these stones with us to put in our home aquarium. These stone pieces are the kind you can find dozens of on the beach.”

According to Belgian media, the couple named Kim and Warre went to Antalya Airport on Friday to return to their country after completing their vacation. They left their only suitcase at the baggage screening machine and proceeded through the checkpoint. During this time, security officers, noting an issue with the suitcase, separated the couple to a different area.

The officers removed the three pieces of stone from the suitcase and alerted the police. Kim and Warre, the Belgian couple who were not allowed to board the Belgian flight, were placed in a police cell at the airport.

The Belgian couple, suspected of historical artifact smuggling, were brought to court and released on Sunday with a travel ban imposed, meaning they couldn’t leave the country.

Kim, the Belgian woman who appeared as the owner of the suitcase according to the ticket reservation, will have to visit the police station every Monday to sign in.

Kim and Warre will not be allowed to leave Turkey until the stones are examined by experts from the Antalya Museum.

Warre, who claimed that the stones did not have historical significance, said they had collected them during a day trip to the Manavgat district. He explained:

“I found the stones in an empty field. One was the size of my hand and sandy-colored. Someone had carved a flower pattern on it. The other two were triangular, the kind you can find dozens of on the beach. They were definitely not the columns of a temple or anything like that. I brought them with me to put in my home aquarium.”

Kim, the Belgian woman, also said, “I had to give my fingerprints, they took a photo for my criminal record, and they put me in a police van among handcuffed people as if I were a criminal.”

The court will announce its decision regarding the Belgian couple after the museum officials complete their examination of the stones. If it is determined that the stones are not historical artifacts, the travel ban on Kim and Warre will be lifted.

Source Yusuf Özkan Lahey

Cover Photo Perge Ancient City/CNN

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