Turkey detains 78 suspects over artifact smuggling

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Turkey detained at least 78 suspects in a large-scale operation against an international network of artifact smuggling, semi-official Anadolu Agency reported on Tuesday.

The chief prosecutor's office of Turkish southern Adana province launched the operation across 30 cities, issuing arrest warrants for 93 suspects, the report said, adding the police seized at least 9,276 artifacts that had been excavated illegally.

The experts of the Turkish culture ministry determined that 52 historical artifacts were put in catalogs for sale in nine auction halls of the United States and Europe.

A total of 4,122 artifacts were seized in separate raids carried out in Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia, as part of the operation whose investigation process lasted nearly two years. 

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