Posts tagged ‘Turkey’


Treasure-hunters ‘even from Sweden’, organised criminals and ‘lawless’ police in the Eastern Mediterranean: Online social organisation of looting and trafficking of antiquities from Turkey, Greece and Cyprus

I’m grateful that my monster study of treasure-hunters ‘even from Sweden’, organised criminals and ‘lawless’ police in the Eastern Mediterranean: online social organisation of looting and trafficking of antiquities from Turkey, Greece and Cyprus has been published in the open-access Revista d’Arqueologia de Ponent, in a special issue that spans Argentina, Spain, the United Kingdom, Lebanon, Syria and further afield, including Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Iraq and Yemen.

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trafficking of forgeries by forced migrants and forced migrants as false provenances for forgeries

While I was piecing together English-language evidence of looting and trafficking of antiquities by internally-displaced persons and internationally-displaced persons, I looked at Turkish-language evidence, too. For a variety of reasons, it shed most light on trafficking of forgeries by forced migrants and supposed purchases from forced migrants as false provenances for forgeries.

From the very beginning, it must be borne in mind that only around one per cent of all suspected cultural property criminals in Turkey do not have Turkish nationality (cf. Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Adli Sicil ve İstatistik Genel Müdürlüğü, 2019: 46 – table 2-13). Irresponsible discussion is dangerous discussion. Still, there is cultural property crime by non-citizens; it is bound up with conflict and crisis; and it is being discussed irresponsibly, through ignorance and malice. None of that can be addressed by silence.

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Turkey’s Gendarmerie caught a Covid-19-infected, health emergency worker-impersonating antiquities trafficker

Profit-driven criminals are adapting to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic and networks such as the Alliance to Counter Crime Online and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime are monitoring these interactions between the health emergency and illicit activity. The Wildlife Justice Commission has documented adaptations in poaching and trafficking of wildlife.

Such criminals are also exploiting the opportunities of the crisis, notably through cybercrime, fraud, extortion, counterfeit and substandard goods, and organised property crime (which is often advanced by impersonating health professionals or government officials). S-3 Research has documented various online scams around coronavirus test kits. And the Counter Extremism Project has documented that extremist movements are exploiting the crisis too.

The Antiquities Trafficking and Heritage Anthropology (ATHAR) Project has documented increases in antiquities looting and online trafficking through online communities that span North Africa and West Asia, plus advertisement of (alleged) personal protective equipment (PPE), ‘including face masks, antibacterial gel and even Covid-19 testing kits’ in those online communities. (fn1)

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cleaning dirty money from tainted antiquities and cleaning dirty money with clean antiques, in North America, Europe and Asia: art trading and money laundering

known unknowns in Turkey

The historical development of money-laundering crime in Turkey has been summarised by criminologist Bahadır Küçükuysal and (seemingly former) security official Yasin Köse (who seems to have been purged in the post-coup witch-hunt, though it may be a different person with the same name in the same directorate).

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sex and treasure: women’s participation in looting and trafficking of Mediterranean antiquities

Following the post of work-in-progress on antiquities and narcotics in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, this is another section that has been cut from the same study (minus one paragraph, while I process some data). Hopefully, this one will be incorporated into a study on the demographics of cultural property criminals.

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multi-commodity trafficking or poly-trafficking in the Mediterranean: antiquities and narcotics in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey

In the course of a study of looting in the North-Eastern Mediterranean, in order to check for potential evidence of multi-commodity trafficking or poly-trafficking, I reviewed the 167 results for antiquities and narcotics in Greek (αρχαιότητες and ναρκωτικά) and the 120 results for antiquities and narcotics in Turkish (tarihi eser and uyuşturucu).

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there are problems with the presentation of evidence by police and journalists in Turkey, in the case that inadvertently involves Gökhan Sarıgöl

The investigation is still developing and I may write a separate update before the conclusion of the case. Nevertheless, it is important to note that, as I prove with photographs from Gökhan Sarıgöl and open-source evidence, there are problems with the presentation of evidence by police and journalists in the case that inadvertently involves him. The police’s presentation of at least one object in the seizure is misleading, the police’s presentation of the seizure itself is misleading and journalists’ appropriation of an irrelevant photograph is misleading.


unidentified lawyers, unnamed clients, unidentified court ruling, unspecified requests…

A law firm in Turkey, who have not identified their lawyer(s), nor their client(s), nor an alleged court ruling (mahkeme kararı), nor the quotations of publicly-accessible statements that are now the subject of the alleged court ruling, nor even one of the posts that contain those quotations (nor responded to my request for those pieces of information)… have requested that I edit (or, literally, delete) or remove two posts. I only know [then, only knew, the link to one post].

note on editing

4th September 2019

I have edited this post to remove names in relation to a case, simply so that it cannot be misused. Updates to that post and/or other posts will reveal developments in the case and the machinations around it.


online trafficking of cultural objects from crisis zones and conflict zones and open-source analysis of the illicit trade

Thanks to the support of the Scandinavian Research Council for Criminology (Nordisk Samarbejdsråd for Kriminologi), I was able to participate in their Research Seminar on Crime, Crime Control and Criminology in the Digital Era in Helsingør, Denmark, on the 8th-10th May 2019.

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Adnan Oktar (or Harun Yahya), truckloads of ‘antiquities’ and a ‘stolen’ painting

When I summarily checked the coverage of cultural property crime in Russia-controlled, Turkish-language Sputnik News, I was reminded of the ongoing case against Islamic televangelist cult leader (and, inevitably, conspiracy theorist) Adnan Oktar (who is also referred to as Adnan Hoca and also operates as Harun Yahya and Adnan Harun Yahya).

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