Turkish city asks Louvre to return statues: report

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The Independent Online

The Turkish city of Izmir has asked Paris's Louvre museum to return two statues of Greek gods Zeus and Apollo, a newspaper reported Monday.

In a letter to the management of the French museum, mayor of the port city Aziz Kocaoglu demanded the return of the marble figures, newspaper Hurriyet said.

Now displayed in the Louvre, they were discovered towards the end of the 17th century in the Izmir region, on the Aegean Sea, which is the site of the ancient city of Smyrna.

They were taken to France and presented to King Louis XIV.

The mayor of Izmir is asking for the statues to be returned to form part of a museum of Aegean civilisation that the city plans to establish and has requested "long-term cooperation" from the Louvre.

The statue of Zeus measures 2.34 metres (7.68 feet) and the Apollo statue is 2.16 metres (7.1 feet), the paper said.

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