Today, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey David Satterfield and Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Ersoy signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding that protects Turkish cultural property.
This agreement is an example of the United States’ enduring work with Turkey to combat cultural property trafficking and to preserve heritage items by allowing the U.S. to establish import restrictions on certain categories of Turkey’s cultural property. The agreement also gives U.S. law enforcement the ability to repatriate trafficked cultural objects back to Turkey while fostering the interchange of Turkish cultural heritage with U.S. institutions. In addition, it demonstrates our respect for Turkey’s longstanding religious, ethnic, and cultural diversity.
The United States is unwavering in its commitment to protect and preserve cultural heritage around the world and to restrict trafficking in cultural property, which is often used to fund terrorist and criminal networks. This cultural property agreement with Turkey was negotiated by the State Department under the U.S. law implementing the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The United States has cultural property agreements with countries around the world, as well as emergency import restrictions on cultural property from Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.