I was originally going to give this the title "Turkey jumps on the repatriation bandwagon", but they seem to have been at it for a while, so I don't think that's quite right -- we do know that they've been trying to recover 'Schliemann's hoard' (or whatever it's called today) from the Pushkin Museum and the Altar of Pergamon from Berlin, with little success. But now a piece in Today's Zaman suggests that Turkey is after more than that but is having somewhat less-than-spectacular success (or is still negotiating). We hear, e.g., that Turkey is negotiating with the Boston Museum of Fine Arts for the return of the Hercules Resting statue (part of which is on loan to the Antalya Museum ... interesting). Dumbarton Oaks and the Getty are also said to have items "smuggled" out of Turkey. Several other museums in Europe and the usual attempts to stop auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's are also mentioned. What seems remarkable in this, though, is their apparent lack of success. Here's the concluding bit:

Turkey has been trying to find and recover smuggled items and artifacts, but it fails to attract support from other countries. For instance, attempts have been made to recover coins seized at Stansted Airport in England. Another motion of request was sent to the German authorities to ask for the return of 1,100 historical pieces seized in a Turkish citizen’s house in Germany; however, the German authorities failed to extend judicial assistance.

Russian authorities have refused to return two silver crosses and gold bracelets from the Byzantine era, smuggled from Turkey and seized in Russia two years ago, asserting that these items were handed over to the current owners.

Speaking to the Anatolia news agency yesterday, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay said they have been tracking down the historical artifacts smuggled from Anatolia to foreign countries. “We have been following auctions, and we asked for support from the Foreign Ministry and other relevant institutions on this matter,” Günay said. “We have stopped some auctions. There have been some returns. These include some important items, but right now, I can’t share the details with the press. Hopefully I will in the future.”

Noting that he got upset when paying a visit to a museum in a foreign country, Günay further said: “You notice that a huge monument and part of a grave stands right at the center of another museum. I was about to sob recently at the British Museum when noticing that all these artifacts were smuggled from our country and exhibited there.”

I wonder what's up with the 'secrecy' ... I also wonder about the rather-too-easy use of the term "smuggled" in regards to things like Pergamon Altar ...

Smuggled Turkish artifacts adorn world museums (Today's Zaman)