Turkey Seizes Over 26,000 Ancient Artifacts From Smugglers

The ancient artifacts from various Middle Eastern civilizations make up perhaps the largest of such a crackdown in Turkey

FILE PHOTO: An Italian Financial Police Officer shows seized ancient roman artifacts in Rome in 2005.

Turkish police seized more than 26,450 ancient artifacts from various Middle Eastern civilizations in a massive sweep which also netted 13 smugglers.

The artifacts include coins, jewelry, stone art and small figurines hailing from Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and other cultures, according to images broadcast Thursday by Haberturk television.

The raids took place in five separate locations and are being seen as one of the largest such crackdowns ever in the country.

Turkey has recently stepped up efforts to stop smuggling of such goods. Armed groups in Syria and Iraq, in particular Islamic State, had profited off smuggling such artifacts out of war zones through Turkey.