UPDATES WITH OPERATIONS IN MUGLA, ARDAHAN; REVISES HEADLINE, DECK, LEDE
By Rauf Maltas, Mustafa Unal Uysal, Durmus Genc, and Gunay Nuh
SANLIURFA/MERSIN/MUGLA/ARDAHAN, Turkey (AA) – Various historical artifacts were seized in anti-smuggling operations across Turkey, security sources said on Monday.
Gendarmerie teams fighting organized crime in the southeastern Sanliurfa province raided the address of a suspect, who had been found to have smuggled historical artifacts, said a security source on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Some 110 ancient gold coins were seized during the operation in Viransehir district. Artifacts belonging to the Byzantine period were handed to local authorities, according to the source.
Separately, five mosaic paintings believed to be historical artifacts were seized in the southern Mersin province, and a suspect was arrested, according to the local gendarmerie command.
Gendarmerie teams acted on a tip-off that a suspect was trying to sell historical artifacts in his workplace, it said in a statement, adding that an unlicensed gun, a charger and five cartridges were also confiscated during the raid in Yenisehir district.
The suspect was later released by a court pending trial, the statement said.
The paintings were handed to the provincial authorities to be examined.
In the southwestern Mugla province, gendarmerie forces seized a 42 gram rare Athens Greek coin and arrested six suspects in an operation launched in Ortaca district, said a security source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
It is said that there are only 42 Athens Greek coins -- dating back to 5th century B.C. -- in the world, the source added.
In an anti-smuggling operation in the northwestern Ardahan province, gendarmerie teams found ancient sculptures of the Virgin Mary, Artemis, and Viking in a village in Gole district.
*Writing by Sena Guler