The Straits Times
Published on Nov 23, 2012

Turkey wants talks with France on 'stolen' antiques


PARIS (AFP) - Turkey wants to start a "dialogue" with French authorities for the return of tiles and other antiquities on display at the Louvre museum in Paris, Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunay said on Thursday.

Saying the artefacts "were stolen at the end of the 19th century", Mr Gunay said: "We want talks to start between French authorities and the board controlling Turkish museums to work on the issue and take stock.

"The theft had nothing to do with the Louvre or with a French citizen who could have acquired them in good faith," he said, adding that Ankara had launched moves to "recover objects representing cultural heritage which were illegally taken out of Turkey".

The contested pieces include tiles from a historic Ottoman mosque in Istanbul.