June 16, 2024 The sun rises from Anatolia

Türkiye backs Athens’ demand for the return of the Elgin Marbles from the UK

Türkiye supports the return of the Elgin marbles to Greece, which were taken to Britain by Thomas Bruce, the Scottish Lord of Elgin, who served as British Ambassador to Istanbul between 1801 and 1812.

Elgin argued that the statues were in danger of destruction and should be taken to England for preservation.

The move sparked outrage in Greece and marked the beginning of a debate that has lasted 200 years and continues to this day.

The Elgin Marbles, a collection of ancient Greek sculptures from the Parthenon and the Acropolis of Athens, are held at the British Museum.

Elgin marbles
Photo: Carole Raddato

Most of the sculptures were made in the 5th century BC under the direction of the sculptor and architect Phidias.

The British Museum “argues that it has contributed to their conservation and that they should remain in London so that people from all over the world can see them.”

When Greece demanded the return of the artifacts, which are still on display at the British Museum in London, the British authorities always replied, “There is a sultan’s edict of Selim III”.

Elgin marbles
Photo: Urban_Wikipedia

Zeynep Boz “There is no such edict”

Zeynep Boz, Head of the Anti-Smuggling Department of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, supported Greece’s justified extradition requests in her speech at the 24th meeting of the “Intergovernmental Committee on the Return of Cultural Property to the Country of Origin or on the Return of Cultural Property in the Event of Unlawful Detention” (ICPRCP) organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris on 29-30 May.

Zeynep Boz said in her speech that there was no edict claimed by the British.

Elgin-marbles-

Boz said about the Elgin marbles: “The existence of a document that would legitimize this purchase made by the British colonialists at that time is not within our knowledge. Therefore, even if we take into account the laws of the time, I don’t think there is any need to discuss the legality of this purchase. With all our hearts, we look forward to celebrating the return of these statues (to Greece). Because we believe that such a development will mark a change in behavior towards the protection of cultural property and will be the strongest message to be sent around the world.”

Cover Photo: Hürriyet

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