Report calls for free visit of museums, ancient sites in Turkey

A recent report by the parliamentary investigative committee on Turkey's cultural artifacts has suggested that visits to museums and archaeological sites be free of charge to increase the interest and awareness of citizens.

The report proposed that museums should particularly aim to draw the youth's attention through the use of social media.

The committee called on museums to announce their activities on their social media accounts, and also to increase awareness about antiquities smuggling in an effort to prevent it.

Other proposals include creating awareness among school children regarding cultural artifacts through various events and activities geared for them.

Another suggestion included in the report is opening museums for the purpose of educating children on the value and importance of cultural artifacts.

"These museums can be established by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry as well as local administrations," said the report.

The committee has also carried out a detailed investigation into the antiquities smuggled out of the country over the last 130 years.

Numerous valuable antiquities stolen from Turkey are now exhibited at various museums across Europe.

The ancient Altar of Zeus and relics from the city of Pergamon in the Aegean province of Izmir are now on display in Berlin, Germany.

A Roman marble sarcophagus depicting the "12 labors of Hercules" had been illegally excavated in the 1960s in Aksu, a district of the famous Mediterranean holiday resort of Antalya, and smuggled to Switzerland.

After remaining on exhibit at the Geneva University's Art and History Museum for three months, the origins of the sarcophagus were discovered in 2010 by Swiss authorities, who then initiated the official procedures to return it to Turkey.

It is now exhibited at the Antalya Museum after its return last September.