Today, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey David Satterfield and Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Ersoy signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding that protects Turkish cultural property.
The State Department said “the agreement is an example of the United States’ enduring work with Turkey to combat cultural property trafficking and to preserve heritage items by allowing the U.S. to establish import restrictions on certain categories of Turkey’s cultural property.”
“The agreement also gives U.S. law enforcement the ability to repatriate trafficked cultural objects back to Turkey while fostering the interchange of Turkish cultural heritage with U.S. institutions. In addition, it demonstrates our respect for Turkey’s longstanding religious, ethnic, and cultural diversity,” the Department of State said in a statement.
The United States has cultural property agreements with countries around the world, as well as emergency import restrictions on cultural property from Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.
This reckless move had been strongly opposed by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), the Hellenic American Leadership Council, and In Defense of Christians (IDC).
ANCA urges everyone to write to the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs ([email protected]) to share concerns.