Turkey seeks return of 5,000-year-old marble figure

Ancient Anatolian Guennol Stargazer statue on auction in New York

Turkey seeks return of 5,000-year-old marble figure


Turkey has started legal action for the return of a 5,000-year-old Anatolian marble figure currently on the sale at a New York auction house.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul on Friday, Culture Minister Nabi Avci said: “We’ve taken steps in order to stop the sale of this work of art and inform the possible recipient that this … was abducted from Turkey.”

The Guennol Stargazer, which dates back to the third millennium BC, is regarded as one of best examples of Kiliya-type Anatolian marble female idols.

The nine-inch figure -- which is thought to have been taken from Gelibolu [Gallipoli], Turkey -- has an estimated sale price of $3 million.

A U.S. court ruled that Christie’s Auction House cannot hand the work of art over to the recipient until a final decision is made, according to Avci.

“We are going to present the necessary scientific reports showing the statute belongs to Turkey within the two-month time frame the court gave us,” the minister said, adding: “We are pursuing our efforts for the return of this work of art.”

Reporting by Lale Bildirici; Writing by Nilay Kar

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