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Antiques Smuggling - Turkey

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Uploaded on Oct 23, 2007

March 1997
With more ancient Greek settlements than Greece and more Roman ruins than Italy, Turkey is an archaeologist's treasure trove.... and a plunder's paradise.

A multi million dollar black market in antiquities threatens to rob Turkey of its heritage. The Lycian, Roman and Byzantine Empires have all left their mark on Turkey's red soil. Statues, coins and ornate tombs are seized upon by professional smugglers, shipped out the country and offloaded in Germany. Director of the anti-smuggling police unit explains, "this business is done by culturally under-developed people. The real point is to become rich quickly". He then estimates that his force intercepts over 95% of the artefacts. But in Mugla prison, we interview a notorious smuggler who confirms that the police claim is "impossible". He also maintains that many smuggled artefacts wind up in London auction houses, Christies and Sothebys. A white statue of Hercules exists in two parts. Poverty stricken farmers sell to the smugglers. During a flash flood, Adnan discovered an ancient tomb in his backyard and he admits that, "people ignore selling to museums because they pay you such little money".

Produced by ABC Australia
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

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