By Emin Avundukluoglu and Coskun Ergul
The Turkish Parliament will form a committee to investigate its cultural property smuggled out of the country, the ruling party's acting group chairman said Wednesday.
“Four political parties have demanded a parliamentary committee to investigate into the issue,” Bulent Turan of the ruling Justice and Development Party said.
"With this committee, we will look for a way to ban the smuggling of our cultural property, and make a list of our properties abroad,” Turan told Anadolu Agency.
Turan said Anatolia, central Turkey, has hosted many civilizations for centuries and their protection is the duty of every citizen.
Some of Turkey’s cultural properties have been smuggled out of the country over the last 130 years.
The ancient Altar of Zeus and Pergamon city near the western province of Izmir had been evacuated to Germany. They are exhibited in Pergamon Museum in Berlin.
Turan spoke of the sarcophagus of Hercules which is expected to be returned to Turkey by Switzerland in the coming months.
The Roman marble plate which depicts the 12 labors of Hercules, were confiscated at the Geneva port by Swiss authorities in 2010.
It was illegally excavated in the 1960s from the southern Turkish city of Antalya.