(IRIBNews.ir) - The theft of an ancient masterpiece from a Turkish museum -- with the suspected help of its director -- has sounded the alarm over Turkey's ability to protect its heritage, prompting inspections in public-run museums across the country.
The issue is crucial to a country that is home to about 3,000 ancient cities from 42 civilizations whose booming tourism industry relies on its rich historical heritage to attract millions of foreigners each year, reports Trend.
The scandal broke in May when the director of the Usak museum in western Turkey and six others were arrested, suspected of stealing a golden brooch in the shape of a winged seahorse from the so-called Lydian Hoard and replacing it with a fake.
Culture Minister Atilla Koc said he had ordered an investigation into 32 other public museums.
The authorities have already discovered that 545 coins dating from the Persian Empire are missing from another museum in southeast Turkey.
Koc put the blame on inadequate security due to financial shortcomings, a lack of technology to keep digital records of the artifacts, and on bureaucratic mismanagement over the years.