May 16 2018

U.S. university agrees to return missing pieces of Zeugma’s ‘Gypsy girl’ mosaics

Turkey’s efforts to retrieve a series of 2nd century mosaics held by a U.S. university for more than 50 years have succeeded with the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry signing an agreement for the return of 12 ancient mosaic pieces looted during excavations, pro government-Hürriyet Daily new reported.

The ministry signed a deal with Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Ohio on May 14 for missing pieces of the world famous ‘Gypsy Girl’ mosaic to be returned to Turkey.

The mosaic pieces, discovered in the early 1960s during excavations in the Roman town of Zeugma, will be displayed the Gaziantep Zeugma Mosaic Museum.

“We are very happy that the Zeugma pieces are being returned to Turkey. The importance of carrying on cultural relations in the international arena by a mutual understanding has been underlined once again,” Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry’s New York office director Tülin Sermin Özduran said regarding the agreement.

BGSU President Rodney Rogers stressed that is was a legal and ethical duty to return the tile fragments to Turkey, the daily reported.

“Legally, there’s one question and then there’s what we believe is the right decision … Unbeknownst to us, these items appear to have been removed in an improper way. Therefore, we believe it is our duty as a university to allow these pieces, which have historical significance to Turkey and the citizens of Turkey, but also to society in general, [to be returned] to their home,” he said at the ceremony, according to the daily.

The Zeugma Mosaic Museum, which opened in 2011, is the biggest mosaic museum in the world.