Handbook on the Law of Cultural Heritage and International Trade

Handbook on the Law of Cultural Heritage and International Trade

Research Handbooks on Globalisation and the Law series

Edited by James A.R. Nafziger and Robert Kirkwood Paterson

This Handbook offers a collection of original writings by leading scholars and practitioners in the exciting, rapidly developing field of cultural heritage law. The detailed essays are the product of a multi-year project of the Committee on Cultural Heritage Law of the International Law Association.

Chapter 19: Turkey

Janet Blake

Subjects: law - academic, cultural heritage and art law, international economic law, trade law


As a case to study, Turkey enjoys certain characteristics that make it an interesting one. First is the richness of the cultural heritage of the country whose history has included the civilisations of, inter alia: the Hittites (of the fourth and third millennia BCE); the Persian Empire (Sardis in Turkey lies at the western end of the Royal Road of King Darius I); ancient Greece (at sites such as Aphrodisias, Ephesos, Didyma and Priene); Hellenistic Greece (as evidenced at the Great Altar at Halicarnassos); the Roman Empire (of which Turkey comprised five provinces); the Byzantine Empire (centred on Constantinople); and the Selçuk and Ottoman Turkish periods of the Islamic era (spanning about 700 years ca. 1200 to 1900 AD). Second, the antiquities legislation in Turkey, begun under the Ottomans, is of a relatively early period and includes approaches that have a direct bearing on the main subject of this report. Third, Turkey is a country where great cultural wealth is accompanied in some rural areas by a level of poverty that can make looting and dealing in ancient and historic artefacts a highly attractive prospect. Fourth, as a middle income country located in a region where illicit movement of drugs, flora and fauna and even arms has been rife for years,Turkey illustrates some of the great challenges faced in controlling illegal export of cultural property.

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