A Belgian couple returning from a holiday in Turkey was stopped for smuggling. Customs officials found three stones in their suitcase. Experts report that these are archaeological finds. Tourists claim to have taken them, knowing nothing of their historical value. The facts date back to a week ago, the news was reported today in the local newspapers.
Kim and Warre, during a day trip to Manavgat, a town east of Antalya, found three stones on the ground and took them, putting them in a suitcase to take them to Belgium, going against the rules in Turkey. Stopped at the airport, the two were questioned and Kim was arrested. The Belgian citizen is still not allowed to leave the country. It now remains to be seen what sanction the woman risks, who told local authorities that she often takes stones on holiday as souvenirs: “We use them as decoration for our aquarium”.
In the meantime, the Antalya Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism had the three stones examined by experts from the Antalya Museum. In their report, we read that “the stone with two stylized rosettes was an element of architectural decoration and the two pieces of marble were pieces of floor covering”.
On the protection of cultural and natural resources, Turkey is tough on those who try to smuggle objects with possible archaeological value out of the country. The Belgian Foreign Ministry warns that it is strictly prohibited to export “antiquities, minerals or objects found locally, such as stones, even if they have no historical-cultural value” from Turkey.