Heracles sculpture to be returned to Turkey from Switzerland

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The sarcophagus of Heracles

The Sarcophagus of Heracles, which was seized by Swiss authorities during an inventory check at the Port of Geneva in 2010, will be returned to Turkey in September.

Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avci left for Geneva on Monday to start the repatriation process of the Heracles sarcophagus, which was smuggled out of Turkey after being found  during an illegal excavation in the Aksu district of Antalya in the 1960s.

The Sarcophagus of Heracles, which is believed to have originated in the ancient city of Perge near Antalya in the 2nd century BC, is a Roman marble sarcophagus depicting the Twelve Labors of Hercules.

It was seized at the Geneva Freeport warehouse following an inventory check. The Geneva Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, which investigated the case, ordered the return of the Heracles sculpture to Turkey in 2015.

The decision was challenged by the Swiss Federal Court, but the appeal was withdrawn and a final decision was made in May 2016 for the return of the sarcophagus to Turkey.

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