First of all, we have to change the buyer's attitude. Court cases won by Turkey have discouraged museums and collectors from buying smuggled works. They don't want the inconvenience of a court case, having their names in the newspapers and loosing money. The Met paid $1.7 million for their collection [sc. Lydian Treasure] and Koch $3.5 million for his [sc. "The Elmali Hoard" / "The Dekadrachm Hoard"]. They spent at least twice as much as this on legal expenses. Secondly, Turkey should make agreements with museums in the purchasing countries. "Don't buy smuggled works--I'll send you exhibitions on loan every three or four years." As a matter of fact, Turkey has sent as many as 35 exhibitions abroad in the last 15 years. The third step is to expose the smuggling mafia with their international connections, and put them out of business. [...] Several respected antiquity dealers in the U.S. lost confidence in their business partners when they realized that they were, in fact, dealing with smugglers.The Italian Government has certainly been using the media to great effect in its successful campaign to reclaim antiquities that appear to have been looted in recent decades.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I have been returning to some of the cases of antiquities returned to Turkey. This included a detailed interview with investigative journalist Özgen Acar (UNESCO Courier April 1, 2001). He was asked, "From your experience, what are the most effective ways to prevent smuggling?"