Anti-smuggling police seized a 2,000-year-old tombstone belonging to an ancient Armenian king in Turkey's northwestern Balıkesir province on Tuesday, Daily Sabah reports.
Acting upon a tipoff, security forces tracked two cars passing through Edremit town headed toward western Canakkale province. After searching the cars, police found and confiscated a tombstone reading "the final resting place of the Commagene Kingdom's leader Antiacho" in Ancient Roman script. The smugglers were planning to sell the invaluable artifact for TL 2 million ($281,000), reports said.
Four suspects were detained during the operation and police launched an extensive investigation into the incident.
Thousands of anti-smuggling operations are carried out across Turkey every year to halt the illegal sale of historical objects and protect the country's rich cultural heritage. The issue is crucial to a country that is home to about 3,000 ancient cities from 42 civilizations.