Bible dating back 1,200 years seized from smuggling suspects in Turkey

Leather manuscript with gold-encrusted religious motifs may have been stolen in Syria, authorities believe

Chris Baynes
Wednesday 06 February 2019 15:20
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Smuggling suspects were caught trying to sell the 34-page manuscript, which has leather pages and gold religious motifs
Smuggling suspects were caught trying to sell the 34-page manuscript, which has leather pages and gold religious motifs

Turkish police have seized a Bible thought to be 1,200 years old from a suspected smuggling gang.

Six people have been arrested after allegedly attempting the sell the ancient manuscript in the southeastern Diyarbakir province.

The Biblical text was written across 34 pages of leather with gold-encrusted religious motifs.

Police are investigating whether the book was smuggled across the border from nearby Syria.

Turkey has become a primary destination for looted antiquities from the war-torn Middle Eastern country.

Three of the suspects were caught in possession of the Bible on Monday by local officers as they tried to find a buyer for the manuscript, said the Diyarbakir governor’s office.

The remaining suspects were later arrested and all six remain in custody.

Turkish authorities have stepped up attempts to stamp out the trade of stolen artefacts in recent years.

The government has issued a list of items believed to have been stolen from Syria, warning antiquities traders and collectors against their sale or purchase.

Thousands of anti-smuggling operations are carried across Turkey every year, according to the Daily Sabah, a pro-government newspaper.

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