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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

TURKEY BLOCKS LOANS TO US AND UK


Turkey blocks loans to US and UK
Multiple claims for antiquities at New York’s Met, major exhibitions hit at London’s British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum

By Martin Bailey. News, Issue 233, March 2012
Published online: 01 March 2012

Turkey is refusing to lend artefacts to leading British and American museums until the issue of disputed antiquities is resolved. The ban means Turkey will not lend artefacts to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and London’s British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

The British Museum had asked for 35 items for the exhibition “Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam” (until 15 April). Although Turkish museums were agreeable to the loans, the ministry of culture blocked them, leaving the British Museum to find alternative artefacts at short notice.

As part of the growing Turkish campaign, loans have been blocked to museums with disputed objects in their collections.

The Met has confirmed that a dozen antiquities are now being claimed by Turkey, but would not identify the individual items. A museum spokeswoman says: “The matter is under discussion with the Turkish authorities.” This month, the Met is due to open “Byzantium and Islam” (14 March-8 July). Many loans are coming from the Benaki Museum in Athens, with none requested of Turkish museums.

Tolga Tuyluoglu, the head of the Turkish government’s culture and tourism office in London, confirmed that claims for the return of two artefacts in the British Museum and V&A are being pursued. Although there is a “good relationship” between Turkish and British cultural organisations, his government wants to resolve issues over the two antiquities “before discussing loans for exhibitions”.


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