The Turkish Culture Ministry will erect a replica of the Bergama (ancient Pergamum or Pergamon) Zeus Altar, which is now on display in the Berlin Pergamon Museum, and attach a sign indicating the original is held in Berlin.
Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Atilla Koc told The New Anatolian that he is deeply saddened about the artifacts lost by being smuggled out of Turkey and that their return must not be compromised.
Koc informed Turkey signed a related international agreement, but does not work retroactively. "There is no chance of having the altar returned from Germany, because we have no legal right. But now we have a new project. The exact copies (replicas) of those historical artifacts will be built on the original sites. We will erect signs that read for example, 'The original of this replica is now in the Berlin Museum."
Koc said they will meet with foreign authorities and suggest similar signs attached to the original artifacts in their museums; for the Bergama Altar a notice for example, it should read, "This altar was brought here from Bergama, Turkey."
The Zeus Altar was built in the third century B.C. by the founder of Antalya (ancient Attaleia) Attalos to commemorate the victory over the Galatians.
The engravings and motifs on the Zeus Altar are renowned as the masterpiece of the Hellenistic world.
Germans began excavations to find the artifacts in Bergama between 1878 and 1886.
The excavations conducted by a German archeology group led by Carl Humman discovered the legendary altar.
The Ottoman administration presented the Zeus Altar and many other artifacts to the German Empire.
Many archeologists believe Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II saved numerous priceless artifacts by sending them abroad.