Bulgaria Returns to Turkey 63 Antique, Byzantine Artefacts

June 14 (BTA) -  Sixty-three archaeological artefacts
seized by the Bulgarian customs authorities at the Kapitan
Andreevo Border Checkpoint were handed over to Turkey here on
Thursday. The ceremony, which took place at the Bulgarian
Academy of Sciences' National Archaeological Institute with
Museum, was attended by Bulgarian Deputy Culture Minister Roumen
 Dimitrov and Turkish Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Ozgul
Ozkan Yavuz.

Bulgaria returned to Turkey 56 coins (Antique, Roman and
Byzantine gold, silver and bronze coins), six Antique bronze
applications, and one bronze fibula. The artefacts were seized
in October 2016 when a Turkish national tried to smuggle them
through the Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint.

Turkey sent an official request for the artefacts' return to the
 Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, together with an expert opinion
with proof of their origin. Also presented was evidence of
illicit export and information on the status of archaeological
cultural heritage as state property under Turkish law.
The return procedure is carried out based on the UNESCO
Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the
Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural
Property, as well as the bilateral 2012 Agreement on prohibiting
 and preventing illicit import, transit and transfer of property
 on cultural heritage.

Yavuz said that the two countries' culture ministries have very
good cooperation. She also said that there are other artefacts
for the return of which Turkey has turned to the Bulgarian
authorities, but in those cases there are ongoing administrative
 procedures. She expressed the hope that these artefacts will be
 returned as well. In her words, in 2012 Turkey handed over to
Bulgaria valuable objects of Roman origin, and since then there
have not been other requests from Bulgaria for the return of
such items.


Source: Sofia