Chargé d’Affaires J. M. Hovenier’s Speech at “Gypsy Girl” Mosaics Repatriation Event

December 8, 2018

“Merhaba. Burada olmaktan mutluyum. First, I want to thank Minister of Culture Mehmet Ersoy, Governor of Gaziantep Davut Gül, and Mayor of Gaziantep Fatma Şahin for inviting me to participate in this important event.

As Ataturk said, “The foundation of The Republic of Turkey is culture.”  Turkey is home to some of the world’s most important archaeological treasures.  From these amazing sites, ancient civilizations speak to us again.  Today, we are delighted to welcome home part of Turkey’s glorious heritage: the Roman-era mosaic of the Gypsy Girl.

Conservation of cultural patrimony demands a coordinated and international effort.  That means all of us doing everything we can to halt antiquities trafficking and facilitating the repatriation of those artifacts back to their rightful homes.  Thank you to all of our partners for making this happen.

The U.S. State Department is a proud partner to governments around the world, including the Government of Turkey, in protecting and preserving cultural heritage.

From Bowling Green to Gaziantep, many people in both of our countries delivered us to this day.  On behalf of the U.S. government, I thank them for their persistence and partnership.  Thanks to their efforts, we unite today to welcome home the mosaic of the Gypsy Girl.  Teşekkürler.”