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Turkish lawers file suit against British Museum

This case has appeared with very little warning (it was not previously a case that got much publicity compared to many other restitution cases) but looks like it will now be getting a lot more publicity. A group of Lawyers in Turkey are filing a lawsuit against the British Museum in the European Court of Human Rights. The reason for the suit is that they want the Halikarnassos Mausoleum to be returned to Turkey by the Museum.

Zaman (Turkey) [1]

Turkish Lawyers File Suit Against British Museum Halikarnassos Mausoleum
By Erkan Acar
Published: Tuesday August 02, 2005

A campaign has been launched for the restitution of Turkey over the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos that was transported from Bodrum in southern Turkey to the British Museum 150 years ago.

A documentary was prepared and 30,000 signatures were collected within the framework of the campaign. A group of lawyers is now preparing to file a lawsuit against the British Museum in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Nearly 30 lawyers from Istanbul and Izmir together with the Bodrum Municipality along with various non-government organizations launched a campaign for the restitution of the Mausoleum transported to London in 1846. To this end a documentary film, entitled “Antique Halikarnasos”, has been prepared. Lawyer Remzi Kazmaz relating they had had received support from the Bodrum district administration and the Bodrum municipality says that they aim to draw public attention to the case before the judicial process begins.

Kazmaz also reports that the Bodrum Municipality and the Alternative Cinema group have launched a widespread signature campaign and have so far collected more than 30,000 signatures. Another interesting action undertaken within the frame of the campaign was placing a black wreath at British Museum. Kazmaz says they will first appeal to the British Courts, and then if they cannot get any results in Britain, they will take the case to the ECHR. International Law Specialist, Lawyer Sekan Cengiz says: “The British Museum exhibits historical monuments transported from various places from all around the world. The true owners of these exhibits have launched legal processes for their restitution. There are similar cases from Greece and Egypt.”

Queen Artemis constructed the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos for her husband, who ruled in the Bodrum region between 353 and 377 BC. Statues and reliefs belonging to the monument unearthed by British archeologist 150 years ago are now on display at the British Museum.