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The court in New York, United States, ruled that Turkey could not recover the historic 6,000-year-old artifact called “Guennol Stargazer” (Star hunter), which was smuggled into the United States. from Anatolian lands years ago, from famous auction house Christie’s and investment fund billionaire Michael Steinhardt. . The statue first appeared when the Hürriyet newspaper announced that “Star Hunter” would be offered for sale at Christie’s, then the Ministry of Culture and Tourism asked the court to stop the sale and return the artwork. At the end of the four-year trial, Judge Alison Nathan rejected the request to return the 22.9-centimeter statuette, which was sold for $ 14.5 million at the last auction.
“YOU ARE LATE TO RETURN”
The court said Turkey, which had not filed a complaint for its return until it was put up for sale at the Christie’s auction house in 2017, “inexcusably neglected to assert its rights.” Judge Nathan said that although Ankara knew the whereabouts of the artifact years ago, it had not taken this step. Judge Nathan pointed out that Star Hunter was on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from 1968 to 1993 and from 1999 to 2007, noting that the museum had not been contacted.
CALL WILL BE APPLICABLE
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In the reasoned decision, Judge Nathan, who explained that Turkey could not prove the claim that the statuette was removed from Anatolia after 1906 and that it was the rightful owner of the work according to the law on ancient works (Asar-ı Atika settlement) published under Ottoman rule that year, judged the work in Christie’s auction catalog, ignoring the fact that its origin was written as “Gallipoli”. US lawyer Lawrence Kaye, who is fighting for the extradition of the “Star Hunter”, who was allegedly smuggled from Turkey in the 1960s, is due to take the decision to the court of appeal. Kaye won the trials for Croesus’ treasure, which was in the Metropolitan Museum, and later for the return of Elmalı’s treasure to Turkey.
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