Turkish security forces on Tuesday seized 688 old coins that had been hidden in a refrigerator, during an anti-smuggling operation in Turkey’s central province of Kayseri.
Security forces organizing the operation confiscated the historic coins, believed to date back to Roman and Byzantine times, with a market value of TL 1 million ($72,590). A search of the house also revealed a pen gun, known as the “assassination weapon”, and 71 rounds of the weapon.
Security forces carried out a simultaneous operation at three addresses in Talas and Melikgazi districts of Kayseri after learning that smugglers were keeping historical artifacts in their homes and trying to take them abroad.
Two suspects have reportedly been arrested. While the proceedings of the suspects at the police station continue, the seized historical objects will be handed over to the Museum Management.
Hundreds of anti-smuggling operations are carried out every year across Turkey to stop the illegal sale of historical artifacts and protect the country’s rich cultural heritage. This issue is crucial for a country which is home to approximately 3,000 ancient cities from 42 civilizations and whose tourist industry relies on its rich historical heritage to attract millions of foreign visitors each year. Turkey is also working to repatriate artifacts taken abroad decades ago by smugglers and last year it brought back 3,480 artifacts from various countries.