Turkey wants back its historical Iznik (Cini) pottery which were smuggled to France during Ottoman Empire period.
Iznik pottery, named after Iznik town of the northwestern province of Bursa where it was made, is highly decorated ceramics whose heyday was the late sixteenth century. Iznik vessels were made in imitation of Chinese porcelain which was highly prized by the Ottoman sultans.
Bringing back the stolen Iznik pottery to Turkey also took place in the agenda of a recent meeting between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Ankara.
Turkish Culture & Tourism Ministry official Murat Suslu, who attended an international meeting on the 40th anniversary of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export & Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, said that the Iznik pottery in tombs of Ottoman sultans Selim II, Murat III and Mahmut I were replaced with their imitations during a restoration in 1883 by French expert Albert Drogny, adding that those pottery were now in the inventory of Louvre Museum in France.
Criticising the French authorities for not cooperating, Suslu said that officials of Louvre Museum were ignoring all calls to discuss the matter.
Noting that Turkey was one of the victims of historical artifacts smuggling, Suslu said that Turkey wanted effective functioning of a UN resolution against this smuggling.
Representatives from 120 countries, which acceded to the convention signed in 1970, attended the meeting in UNESCO center in Paris.