Museum director placed under house arrest for smuggling historical artifacts


Court converted detention of museum director, who prepared report claiming Donatello’s David sculpture was fake, to house arrest in operation to smuggle historical artifacts into Aegean province of Aydin.


In the first court, Abdülbari Yıldız, the director of the museum, was released from prison with a term of house arrest, while the court decided to continue the ongoing trials of other suspects.

Provincial smuggling teams found a status during a search of a vehicle as part of historical artifact smuggling operations in January.

The report requested from the provincial directorate of museums by the police claimed that the statue was fake and should be returned to its owner.

Two experts from Ege University, on the other hand, endorsed the statue of David as a historical artifact.

The teams staged simultaneous operations in the capital Ankara, the northern province of Amasya, the southern province of Mersin, the central Anatolian provinces of Aksaray and Kayseri and the southwestern province of Muğla due to suspicions.

Some 36 people, including Abdülbari Yıldız, his wife, museum staff and two policemen were arrested.


One of the suspects confessed to trying to find a buyer for the statue on behalf of museum director Yıldız.

Two detectors and an unlicensed weapon were also seized from the homes, workplaces and vehicles of the suspects.

Yıldız was arrested for violating the Cultural and Natural Heritage Protection Law, bribery, bid-rigging and falsifying official documents.

The prosecutor requested a prison sentence of up to 79 years for Yıldız, also accused of creating and leading an illegal organization, and two to 52 years for the other perpetrators in the first court.


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