Turkish police retrieve 17th century Quran and Ottoman artefacts in smuggling bust
The items, many of which date back to the Ottoman period, were seized by the Istanbul Police Department Anti-Smuggling Crimes Branch from individuals who they believe sought to smuggle them abroad.
A total of 144 artefacts dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as a pistol from the 20th century, were found.
The raids in Istanbul’s Fatih and Umraniye neighbourhoods revealed a centuries-old copy of the Quran, ten swords of different sizes - thought to be from the early and late Ottoman periods - a necklace decorated with 17 coins from the late Ottoman period, an antique door panel, a medallion with Sultan Abdulhamid II's monogram, and two rifles inlaid with mother of pearl.
Two of the smugglers were detained by police during the raids, according to reports.
The Ottoman Empire, which was centred in modern-day Turkey, ruled over the Balkans and much of the Middle East and North Africa for more than 600 years.
The empire was known for its dazzling art and architecture and for using rare and precious materials.