Fatih KARAÇALI – Doğan News Agency
Police in the Mediterranean province of Adana seized on Feb. 22 an 18th century icon that has one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ embroidered on gazelle skin.
Police officers from the public security branch stopped a car driving on the Alparslan Türkeş Avenue in the Çukurova district after becoming suspicious of it. The officers later searched the car and found an icon hidden in the trunk. The suspects were later detained.
Police have said the icon was a historical artifact, which had “The Great Archiereus” carved on it.
The suspects said they took the icon from someone who owed them money.
“A person who came from Syria owed us money. He gave it to us in return of his debt. We did not know that it was historically valuable,” the suspects said in their testimonies.
The police said they believed the suspects were trying to smuggle the icon from Syria. They were released with judicial control after being referred to court.
Meanwhile, officials from a museum directorate under the Culture and Tourism Ministry said the icon was “priceless.”
Officials also stated that the icon, which they now keep, is 178 centimeters in height and 75 centimeters in width, and dated back to the 18th century.