Thursday, May 10, 2012

Should an Ohio University Send Valuable Mosaics Back to Turkey Based on Speculation on their Origins and the Impact of Turkish Law?

I do hope the Trustees at Bowling Green State University in Ohio seek opinions of others than those with a vested interest in repatriating objects before they seriously consider ripping valuable mosaics out of its new Wolfe Center and sending them to an uncertain fate in Turkey.  See and
After all, the Trustees have fiduciary duties that require substantial justification before the University despoils its own new art center to feed the cultural nationalist beast.

At a minimum, the Trustees must ask:

Is academic speculation that the objects may have come from Zeugma, a site in Turkey, enough to justify such an irreversible action?

And even if the mosaics did come from Zeugma, how can a 1983 Turkish law be used as a basis to return them when they could not have left Turkey later than the 1960's?

And what moral right does the Turkish Government have to such objects?  After all, that same Turkish government sacrificed the entire ancient city of Zeugma itself in a quest for hydroelectric power. 

1 comment:

Hazen Pingree said...

Apparently, mere speculation is enough to shift the burden of proof to the owner. Of all countries, Turkey should be particularly cautious in wielding the stick of righteousness.