UPDATE: Turkey Tests the Waters by Using Human Rights Law to Reclaim Antiquities
|Under dispute: 350BC Mausoleum of Halicarnassus at the British Museum.|
Turkey is taking aggressive action once again. They are pressuring museums to return all antiquities removed from the country immediately. As discussed in the Center for Art Law’s previous post, museums in the United States and Europe argue that Turkey is partaking in what they call “cultural blackmail.”
On December 8th, The Guardian reported that Turkey is undertaking a new campaign: filing a suit in European court claiming the British Museum is violating Turkey’s human rights by failing to return the 350BC Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. This is the first time that human rights law will be used in a repatriation case, and has potential to establish a key precedent for all cultural heritage cases in the future.
Remzi Kazmaz, a lawyer representing the Turkish town of Bodrum (the original location of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus), said in an interview with The Guardian: “We thank the British authorities and the British Museum for accomodating and preserving our historical and cultural heritage for the last years. However, the time has come for these assets to be returned to their place of origin.”