Gypsy Girl mosaic frag­ments back in Tur­key

The Sunday Telegraph - - World news - By Raf Sanchez MID­DLE EAST COR­RE­SPON­DENT

STOLEN frag­ments from one of Tur­key’s most strik­ing an­cient trea­sures – the 2,000-year-old “Gypsy Girl” mosaic – have been put on dis­play af­ter be­ing re­turned to their home­land.

The pieces were looted from the old city of Zeugma in the 1960s and smug­gled out to the US.

They were only dis­cov­ered to be miss­ing 20 years ago when the im­age of the girl with a pierc­ing gaze was found by Turk­ish ar­chae­ol­o­gists ex­ca­vat­ing Zeugma, which is near the south­ern city of Gaziantep.

The plun­dered frag­ments had been bought by Bowl­ing Green State Univer­sity in Ohio, which dis­played them until 2012 when their true prove­nance was es­tab­lished and Tur­key asked for their re­turn.

The univer­sity ini­tially asked Tur­key to buy them back, a re­quest which Ankara re­jected.

Af­ter more than five years of talks, an agree­ment was signed for their re­turn. “The univer­sity has signed off on a very im­por­tant and sig­nif­i­cant co­op­er­a­tion by re­turn­ing these pieces to our coun­try as good­will,” a Turk­ish spokesman said.

Tur­key will pro­vide the univer­sity with ex­act repli­cas to dis­play.

The old city of Zeugma, which lay on the Euphrates river, flour­ished un­der Greek and then Ro­man rule be­fore it was de­stroyed in war in the 3rd cen­tury AD.

The Gypsy Girl mosaic is the most prom­i­nent sym­bol of that his­tory.

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