Turkish PM home with half of Hercules

The top half of an 1800-year-old marble statue of the Greek demigod Hercules was bought home to Turkey by the country's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday after it was handed back by a Boston museum.

The upper part of the ancient statue, known as "Weary Hercules," will now be reunited with the lower half, which is on display in a museum in the Turkish Mediterranean city of Antalya.

"I have joyful news," Erdogan told journalists in Ankara after bringing the half-statue back on his plane from New York where he attended the UN General Assembly.

"The Ministry of Culture and Tourism had been trying to get it back for 20 years," Erdogan said.

Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet said the bottom half of the naked Hercules statue was discovered in 1980 in the southwestern Turkish town of Perge a few years after the top half was removed from the country.

Together, the two halves weigh 200kg, Hurriyet said.

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has said their fragment was bought in the early 1980s with proper papers.

The return of the half-statue is a victory for Turkey, which has recently embarked on a campaign to repatriate artifacts. Since 2002, it has repatriated 4028 artifacts, Erdogan said.


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