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Turkey investigates botched restoration at archeology museum


map_of_turkeyTurkish authorities on Tuesday launched an investigation after a number of ancient Roman mosaics were badly damaged during a botched restoration attempt at a museum in southern Turkey.

The inquiry comes after reports that at least 10 priceless mosaics at the Archaeology Museum in the southern province of Hatay had been damaged while being restored and moved to a new building.

“An investigation has been launched on this work and the restoration on the site has been suspended,” an official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Turkish newspapers published before and after pictures of the mosaics that showed the touched-up results looking significantly different than the originals, provoking popular uproar and amusement.

Some stones appeared to have gone missing or been misplaced, changing the facial expressions of the figures depicted.

“A grotesque restoration” headlined the mass-circulation Hurriyet newspaper, while Cumhuriyet daily decried the restoration results as: “Mosaics with Botox.”

Sefik Cirkin, a local lawmaker from the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), called the restored work “a massacre of history” and blamed the Islamic-rooted ruling AKP for “a bureaucratic scandal.”

The sprawling 10,000 square meter (107,000 square feet) museum is home to the world’s second-largest collection of Roman mosaics, displaying 1,700 priceless pieces.

Turkish media have likened the episode to a 82-year-old Spanish woman’s botched restoration of a church painting of Christ in 2012. The “restored” figure looked virtually unrecognisable, and drew ridicule across the world.

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