Thursday, February 4, 2021

Eleventh Hour Trump Administration MOU with Turkey's Authoritarian Government Roils Representatives of Displaced Minorities, Collectors

On Jan. 19, 2021, the U.S. Department of State entered into a cultural property agreement or memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Erdogan's authoritarian Turkish government potentially covering everything and anything made as as recently as 1923.  Associated import restrictions have yet to be announced, but representatives of the Greek diaspora worry the MOU will empower Erdogan to “claw back” ancient and modern Greek cultural property and provide de facto recognition to Erdogan’s rights to convert Hagia Sophia and other Greek Orthodox churches into mosques.  Meanwhile, coin collectors are concerned overbroad restrictions will result in an embargo of most, if not all, ancient Greek coins of "Turkish type" circulating in legitimate markets in Europe.  The real question is whether the Biden Administration, which is so keen to overturn everything associated with Trump, will consider these concerns seriously before issuing any  implementing regulations. 

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