Archaeology in Conflict


Vienna 2010

15. Illicit Trade in Cultural Property and Internet Sales

Sam Hardy, University of Sussex, UK

Cypriot antiquities rescue from the Turkish Deep State:

The rescue of forgeries, and the death of Stephanos Stephanou

In comparison to 7 other international speakers from different countries and Universities,

Mr. Hardy’s lecture turned out to be anything but academic and a veiled attack on the

TMT and Turkish Cypriot State which was equated to some mythical and indefinable

entity called “The Turkish Deep State”, which was made responsible for all ills on Cyprus.

According to Mr. Hardy, until 1955 and under British colonial rule, everything was under control and that Cypriot Archaeological property was safe. Mr. Hardy then went on to say that with the Greek nationalist ENOSIS movement, there came about the TMT which was described as an extension of the Turkish Deep State. He went on to say that following the

communal strife, the Turkish Cypriots had to live in Enclaves out of which with the help

of the TMT within the enclaves and the help of the Greek Cypriots outside the enclaves,

looted the archaeological riches of Cyprus were looted. He tried to excuse the poor Turkish Cypriots and the TMT who apparently did it for economic reasons and for financing their armed struggle against the Greeks.

Mr. Hardy, then went on to create a mythical Greek hero called Stephanos Stephanou,

who was presented as an under-cover, Greek Cypriot police officer who clandestinely entered the North of Cyprus in order to rescue Cypriot cultural property (specifically?

a very old and valuable Bible). According to Mr. Hardy, Stephanou had Turkish Cypriot

accomplices who were also arrested and later released by Turkish Cypriot Police.

According to Mr. Hardy, Strephanou was deprived of his human rights and was tortured to death by Turkish Cypriot Police (= Turkish Deep State). He went on to make a preposterous

claim that Kutlu Adali was also killed by the Turkish Deep State and for the same reason,

i.e. for reporting thefts of Cypriot cultural property.

This lecture, while attempting to cover the attack on the TRNC, and trying to appear as

if putting blame equally on both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides, it was a masterpiece in

political propaganda using an international scientific forum to present the TRNC as an illegal and criminal entity.

Discussions, Comments & Questions

At the end of the 15. Lecture- series, Küfi Seydali (Turkish Cypriot) was allowed to

critically comment on the lecture delivered by Sam Hardy of Sussex University.

Mr. Seydali introduced himself as a Turkish Cypriot who has been living in Austria for decades. Seydali thanked the other speakers for their highly academic and balanced lectures on the subject of illicit trade (via internet) in cultural property.

However, Seydali begged for their understanding that he could not feel the same about Mr.

Hardy’s lecture which he described as a “political thriller”. Seydali went on to explain his utter shock and disappointment in the face of such an attack on the Turkish Cypriots and

their state.

Seydali started to question Hardy’s initial statement about the British Colonial record, and asking  the question, where did all the antiquities in the British Museum of Central London came from? Egypt, India, Cyprus and other ex-colonies, perhaps? Seydali said, don’t take my word, go and see for yourselves as Archaeologists.

Seydali then went on to explain the sufferings of the Turkish Cypriots who were, for 11 years (1963 – 1974), pushed into enclaves making a proud 3% of Cyprus’ total territory. How is it

possible, he asked, that a small community imprisoned into 3% of Cyprus and beleaguered by

the Greek army and Greek Cypriot armed elements, and under UN observation, could do

such damage to the cultural heritage of Cyprus? Is it possible, he asked?

Seydali went on to explain further how unjustified and untrue Hardy’s claims were. Seydali asked, how is it possible that in all big Turkish Cypriot townships there exist Archaeological Museums under the control of a Ministry in charge for culture? He went on to tell the audience that the Greek Cypriot Archbishop Hrisostomos had visited the  Archaeological and Icon Museum in Güzelyurt, North Cyprus (Omorfo) in 2008, during which he could not hide his surprise and amazement at the work well done by Turkish Cypriot Archeologists and

State. Seydali also added that the Eastern Mediterranian University (EMU) cooperated within the framework of relevant UNESCO conventions and many European experts such as Prof. Zeischka,  Dr. Bartelheim, and Prof. Pernicka, in order to protect archelogical sites and Fundus. Seydali asked the Archeologists present to visit Northern Cyprus and see for themselves or at least get in touch and talk to the Turkish Cypriots about the difficult task they are faced with in protecting their cltural and archeological heritage.

Finally, Seydali explained how painful and unjust he found the attacks by Mr. Hardy on

the Turkish Cypriot Resistance Movement (TMT) whose sole function was to defend

the Turkish Cypriot community against Greek-Greek Cypriot attacks. He concluded by saying that after the creation of the TRNC, TMT ceased to exist and has nothing to do with the

so-called “Turkish Deep State”, a relatively new, medial expression used within Turkey.

Furthermore, he added that Stephanou was visited by UN officers and Doctors, and that he had been tortured is just not true, and that the death of Mr. Kutlu Adali had nothing to do

with Mr. Staphanou or archaeology, and the subject of this conference.

He thanked the organisers for allowing him to comment, and thanked the Scientists for

listening to his comments.

Vienna, 09.04.2010

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