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Society

Greece Repeats Rejected Call for Stolen Parthenon Marbles Return

ATHENS – As the Acropolis Museum’s 11th anniversary looms June 30, Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said the British Museum should return the stolen Parthenon Marbles, a plea that has fallen on deaf ears for generations.

The British Museum claims to be the real owners, citing a sale of the treasures to the institution almost 200 years ago by Scottish diplomat, who stole them during the Ottoman Occupation in a deal with the Turks.

The Acropolis Museum was designed to hold the marbles if they are ever returned, with a special glass top floor looking out across a pedestrian walkway at the famed hill and the Parthenon atop.

An additional motivation for the construction of a new museum was that when Greece made requests for marbles returned it was suggested by some British officials that Greece had no suitable location where they could be displayed.

Creation of a gallery for the display of the Parthenon Marbles has been key to all recent proposals for the design of a new museum so British Museum officials have switched to other dubious explanations why Greece should not have the Greek Marbles.

“It is time for the British Museum to reconsider its stance ahead of the Acropolis Museum’s next birthday,,” Mendoni told private broadcaster Star TV, becoming the latest culture minister to take a shot at getting them back which the British Museum said will never 

“Does it want to be a museum that meets and will continue to meet modern requirements and speak to the soul of the people, or will it remain a colonial museum which intends to hold treasures of world cultural heritage that do not belong to it?” she asked.

She said the reopening of archeological sites last week May 18 as the COVID-19 Coronavirus winds down was an opportunity for the international committees to reiterate their long-standing request – and that of the Greek government – for their return.

The Parthenon Marbles are a “product of theft” and therefore Greece will “never recognize" ownership and possession by the British Museum, she added, and noted that public opinion in Britain has shown that there is support for the move.

The theft of the 2,500-year-old sculptures that British diplomat Lord Elgin removed from Athens was a “creative act,” British Museum Director Hartwig Fischer, a German historian who is the first person who's not British to hold that post.

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