By Ali Mustafayev
Iran will return a 7-century-old church bell, which was kept in a museum in Urmiya, to Turkey.
The church bell originally belonged to the Saint Mary Church in Turkey's eastern Van province and was brought to Iran during wartime.
The vice-chair of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, Mirhadi Kareseyyed-Romiani, said that Iran will return all historical artifacts to the countries of their origin in line with legal procedures, Daily Sabah reports.
He noted that this policy is based on improving friendly relations with Iran's neighbors.
Previously, Turkey announced that a Special Committee on the Historical Heritage will be organized in order to return valuable artifacts, lost during the World War.
The Committee will consist of the members of Justice and Development Party, Nationalist Movement Party and Republican People’s Party. It will be authorized to negotiate with countries on questions of the return of Turkey’s historical legacy.
The list of the artifacts belonging to Turkey and repatriated abroad at the wartime will be compiled by the Committee.
Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey Ertugrul Gunay previously stated that Turkey is planning to gather together all the valuable historical monuments of the country and to open the largest historical museum “not only in the Middle East and Balkans, but in the whole world”.
The Archaeological Community agrees that Turkey has every right to return its ancient artifacts stolen and exported by the smugglers.
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