Culture Minister Lina Mendoni on Saturday reiterated a long-standing request for the British Museum to return the Parthenon Marbles, ahead of the 11th anniversary of the Acropolis Museum, which was purpose-built to house the antiquities found on Athens’ namesake hill.
“It is time for the British Museum to reconsider its stance ahead of the Acropolis Museum’s next birthday, which is on June 20,” Mendoni told private broadcaster Star TV on Saturday.
“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?”
The minister said that the reopening of archeological sites last week (May 18) 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 government closed archaeological sites on March 13, as part of a general lockdown imposed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The British Museum in London has refused to return the Parthenon Marbles, 2,500-year-old sculptures that British diplomat Lord Elgin removed from Athens in the early 19th century when Greece was under Ottoman Turkish rule.