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Septimus Severus bronze statue, 11 ancient artefacts returning to Türkiye

Twelve antiquities smuggled out of Türkiye, including a bronze statue of Septimus Severus, are coming back home, the Turkish Consulate General in New York has announced.

Consul General Reyhan Ozgur made the announcement on Wednesday during a repatriation ceremony.

“The momentum of the cooperation is not only encouraging deeper cooperation between Türkiye and the US but is also inspiring for the global community combating cultural property smuggling,” Ozgur said.

“It sends a clear and strong message to all smugglers, dealers and collectors that illegal purchase, possession and sale of cultural artifacts will have consequences.”

Ozgur said the smuggling of antiquities poses a “tremendous threat to our common cultural heritage.”

“That is why as the Republic of Türkiye, within this group of artefacts, there are pieces from every different region of our country such as Burdur, Konya, Sanliurfa, Canakkale, Manisa, Antalya and Eastern Anatolia,” he said.

Underlining Türkiye’s efforts to fight cultural property smuggling and protect the cultural heritage of Anatolian lands, which hosted many civilizations, Ozgur said 1,203 cultural properties were returned to Türkiye between 2002 and 2023.

Noting an agreement with the US, Ozgur said Türkiye’s Culture and Tourism Ministry played a role in bringing the facts together.

New York County Assistant District Attorneys Matthew Bogdanos and Lisa DelPizzo also expressed happiness about the repatriation, adding they will continue to work closely with Türkiye.

New York Cultural Attache officials said the twelve artefacts will be sent to Türkiye via a Turkish Airlines cargo flight later on Wednesday.

Among the artefacts was a bronze statue of Septimus Severus from Burdur’s Boubon Ancient City, which has special importance for Türkiye.

Septimus Severus was a Roman emperor who ruled from 193 to 211. He was born in Leptis Magna, now in present-day Libya, which was once part of the Roman province of Africa.

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