Penn and Turkey's Antiquities Campaign

October 1, 2012

The announcement last month by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology that it was making an indefinite loan of 24 artifacts from ancient Troy to Turkey is one of the Turkish victories in the country's controversial campaign to recover antiquities, The New York Times reported. In the deal with Penn, Turkey promised future loans and collaboration on other projects. Many museums in the United States and Europe have faced demands in recent years that they return art taken from Greece, Turkey and other nations under questionable circumstances in eras before current ethical standards for excavations were in place. The Times article noted, however, that some museum directors question Turkey's approach to the issue, Critics have charged that Turkish museums have art taken from lands ruled in the Ottoman period that are now independent nations. "The Turks are engaging in polemics and nasty politics," said Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. "They should be careful about making moral claims when their museums are full of looted treasures."


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