Posts tagged ‘TMT’


“mere” corruption, political insecurity and conflict antiquities trafficking in Cyprus and Turkey

When considering trafficking of and markets for (fake) conflict antiquities, it is helpful to remember that cultural property crime can be connected with common problems, such as corruption and oppression, in uncommon ways. Furthermore, disparate cases can sometimes help to interpret one another.

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every story about Turkey has everything: fake conflict antiquities trafficking, drug trafficking and conflict financing

While I was collecting evidence of the markets for (fake) conflict antiquities that are trafficked from and through Turkey, journalist Cristina Maza reviewed the allegations by Turkey that former CIA agent Graham Fuller was involved in the 2016 coup attempt and observed that ‘this story has everything’. I noted that every story about Turkey has everything. Here, I try to trace historical connections between trafficking of fake conflict antiquities, trafficking of other illicit commodities and financing of politically-motivated armed groups.

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destruction, theft and rescue of cultural property during intercommunal conflict in Cyprus (postprint)

Greek Cypriot officials have estimated that, since 1974, ‘several dozen’ wall paintings and mosaics, ‘15,000-20,000 icons’ (Georgiou-Hadjitofi 2000: 225) and possibly ‘more than 60,000 ancient artefacts’ (Hadjisavvas 2001: 136) have been stolen from northern Cyprus. The structures of the illicit antiquities trade were created before the 1974 coup and invasion. This paper looks at how the destruction of cultural heritage and the illicit antiquities trade developed together between 1963 and 1974. It concludes by showing how Turkish nationalist criminal networks consolidated the illicit antiquities trade after 1974 – and how Greek Cypriot archaeological policy contributed to those networks’ trade.


Hardy, S A. 2015: “Destruction, theft and rescue of archaeological artefacts in Cyprus, 1963-1974: From the intercommunal conflict until the foreign invasions”. In Jacobs, A and Cosyns, P (Eds.). Cypriot material culture studies, from picrolite carving to proskynitaria analysis: Proceedings of the 8th Annual Postgraduate Cypriot Archaeology Conference held in honour of the memory of Paul Åström at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), 27th-29th November 2008, 329-345. Brussels: VUBPRESS. [pdf]

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