(Ministry of Culture and Tourism, General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums, Turkey)
Anatolia has a fundamental place among world archaeology with its wealthy archaeological reserves still not brought to light. This forms a natural basis for cultural property smuggling, which dates back to the Hittite Empire.
Even though the problem of cultural property smuggling is tried to be solved through national laws and international agreements, certain deficiencies about smuggling of cultural properties of Anatolian origin has not yet been settled.
The main problem among the countries of origin is not the theft of artefacts registered in museums, but unearthing the artefacts that are unknown and naturally not registered, through illegal excavations and their transfer via illegal means.
After mentioning briefly the cultural property smuggling problem, it is impossible to ignore the case in the internet.
The internet creates a sale media that requires low capital and is widespread in terms of the commercial businesses. However, it is seen that it is open to abuse The internet dimension of the illegal cultural property trade exists in two different parts.
The first one is the artefacts offered for sale through on-line catalogues of the auction houses.
The auction houses are obliged to obtain the artefacts legally and to certify that. If an annotation is made about an artefact offered for sale, the company is obliged to inform the origin.
Deterrent punishments and sanctions in the legislation of the countries in the centre and target of smuggling should be arranged as well as international agreements.
Secondly, the companies engaged in trade over internet should be evaluated. Within this framework, in addition to the supervision of the state as legislator, new steps should be taken towards the protection of cultural heritage through regular investigations by the administrators and supervisors of websites, and cooperation should be achieved between countries.
Keywords: Cultural property, illicit trade, internet