November 15, 2006

Bodrum’s claims for restitution

Posted at 10:51 am in Similar cases

In Turkey, various groups have recently been trying to put pressure on the British Museum for the return of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. Like those involved in many similar cases though, they are having difficulty coordinating their own efforts with those of their government, only to meet with negative responses from the British Museum which refuses to consider any sort of negotiations.

Turkish Daily News

Tuesday, Nov 14 2006 3:44 pm GMT+2
No official petition filed to take King Mausolos’ mausoleum back
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

ANKARA – Turkish Daily News

Representatives of several Bodrum-based nongovernmental organizations visiting London to take part in an international tourism fair held in the British capital found that no official petition has been filed with British authorities to return King Mausolos’ mausoleum to Bodrum, its original location.

The mausoleum, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is currently being exhibited at the British Museum.

A campaign was launched in early 2005 by the municipality of Bodrum for parts of the mausoleum on display in London to be returned to Turkey.

Bodrum Peninsula Promotion Association (BOYTAV) Chairman Mehmet Kocadon, one of the NGO representatives visiting London, told the Doğan News Agency that British Museum officials said no official petition had been filed to date and that the mausoleum’s return to Turkey was impossible at present.

The mausoleum is on display in hall 21 at the British Museum, where it was put on show around 150 years ago.

Lawyer Remzi Kazmaz said that 124,000 signatures had been collected for the petition to date and submitted to the Culture and Tourism Ministry two months ago. “Now we are waiting for the ministry to take action. We will file a lawsuit at the European Court of Human Rights, depending on the reply we receive from Britain,” Kazmaz said.

Queen Artemisia commissioned the mausoleum for her husband, the king of Caria, who lived between 377 and 353 B.C., in Halikarnasos. All that remains today are some stones from the mausoleum, which was built in 350 B.C. by the architect Pythea.

There is also a painting of the mausoleum executed according to a description recorded by the historian Plinius.

British archeologists discovered the mausoleum, which is believed to have been destroyed during a major earthquake, and Lord Stratford Canning launched excavations in 1846 with special permission from Sultan Abdülmecit.

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