The Sarcophagus of Heracles, which was smuggled out of Turkey after being found during an illegal excavation in the Aksu district of Antalya in the 1960s, has been returned to Turkey, the Karar daily reported on Thursday.
The sculpture, which was seized by Swiss authorities during an inventory check at the Port of Geneva in 2010, has been returned to Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry officials in Geneva.
The sarcophagus was taken to Zurich on Wednesday morning after packing and sealing were completed at the Geneva consulate and was flown to İstanbul Atatürk Airport on Wednesday evening.
The sculpture will be transported to Antalya to be exhibited at the Antalya Museum.
The Sarcophagus of Heracles, which is believed to have originated in the ancient city of Perge near Antalya in the second century B.C., 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The decision was challenged by the Swiss Federal Court, but the appeal was withdrawn and a final decision was made in May 2016 for the return of the sarcophagus to Turkey.