An Israeli national has been detained in Turkey for over a week after he was arrested at Antalya Airport. According to the man’s family, a decorative bell he purchased at a local market was found in his backpack, which Turkish authorities argue is an ancient historical artifact the man attempted to smuggle out of the country.
The Israeli, a resident of Acre, was arrested last week while attempting to board a flight to Israel. His wife and children were allowed to board their flight, but he was detained and has been under house arrest in Turkey since then.
The Foreign Ministry confirmed that they are aware of the incident and are working to assist the man via diplomatic channels.
"We need the help of the senior officials to step in and assist us," said the man’s son, Shlomi. "My father is an elderly person with medical issues, and his condition isn’t good. He wants to come back home and is under significant mental stress."
Several members of the man’s family traveled to Turkey over the weekend to aid in efforts to secure his release. A local attorney, hired for a substantial fee, estimated that the efforts to have him released and returned to Israel might take several weeks.
The family argues that they possess evidence that the bell was purchased at a local market, and they have a receipt and documentation of the purchase of the bell, which cost $100.
They also proved the bell is a home decoration item mass-produced in Turkey, and similar bells are sold as common decorative pieces. Therefore, they believe Turkish authorities made a mistake while detaining their relative.