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Cyprus Police Recover Stolen Koran

Cyprus Police Recover Stolen Koran

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) - Turkish Cypriot police said Saturday they have recovered
a 15th-century Koran that was stolen from a Turkish museum and detained three
suspects for attempting to smuggle the book to Britain.

The handwritten Islamic holy book had been missing from the Istanbul's Topkapi
Palace museum since September. The theft, from the former home of the sultans
and one of the world's most visited museums, shocked Turks and prompted an
investigation into lax security measures at Turkey's museums.

Acting on a tip, police in the breakaway state detained one of the suspects as
he attempted to board a plane for Britain, said Chief Inspector Salim Aker. Two
other men, who allegedly stole the Koran from Topkapi, were also detained.

The men arrived in northern Cyprus from Turkey on May 25. Cyprus has been
divided in Greek and Turkish sectors since a 1974 Turkish invasion.

The men, whose identities were not released, planned to sell the Koran to a
company dealing in antiquities, Aker said.

Turkish police thought they had recovered the book in January when they arrested
four men trying to sell an antique Koran, but experts said it was not the
missing Topkapi Koran.

At the time of the theft, authorities estimated the value of the handwritten
Koran at between $5,000 and $50,000.

Topkapi Palace, which overlooks the bustling Bosporus Strait and the Golden
Horn, was home to the Ottoman sultans and their court from the mid-15th century
to the mid-19th century.

Generous sponsorship grants by Mosler Inc
and the Netherlands Museums Association
keep the Museum Security Network a free service.

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