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Turkey supports Greece in fight to reunify Parthenon Marbles

Historically, Turkey and Greece have not necessarily seen eye to eye. Turkey has in the past however supported Greece in their attempts to reunify the Parthenon Sculptures.

Following the recent loan by the British Museum [1] to the Hermitage of one of the sculptures originally removed by Elgin, Turkey has once again come out in support of Greece’s restitution requests.

Visitors passing a sculpture from the Parthenon marbles at the Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia [2]

Visitors passing a sculpture from the Parthenon marbles at the Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia

Hurriyet Daily News [3]

Turkey backs Greek fight for Elgin Marbles
ATHENS – Anadolu Agency

Turkey on Dec. 6 announced its support for Greece’s fight to get back from Britain the famous Elgin Marbles – ancient Greek sculptures also known as the Parthenon Marbles which were taken from Athens in the 19th century.

The dispute over the British Museum’s possession of the sculptures, taken by British diplomat Lord Elgin in 1803, flared this week when Greece learned of the unprecedented loan of one sculpture to a Russian museum.

The support from Turkey came during a visit by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to Athens. “We support Greece in its efforts to return the god Ilissos to the Acropolis museum,” he said at a press conference alongside his Greek counterpart Antonis Samaras.“The return of works of a nation’s cultural heritage is very important,” Davutoğlu added.

He was referring to the loan of the sculpture of the Greek river god Ilissos, a headless, reclining male figure, to the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg where it went on display from Dec. 6 until Jan. 18.

It is the first time one of the sculptures has left their controversial British home and the deal is all the more striking because Britain has joined tough EU economic sanctions against Russia over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine conflict.