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Turkey’s repossession of a collection of ancient seeds from the British Institute in Ankara has caused a rift between the members of my family. Seeing as both parents have a PhD in weedy science, less commonly known as plant biology, it was rather inevitable. Although, on this occasion, I’ve found I too have taken a side.

In my opinion, Turkey is well within its rights to confiscate the collection. The work may have been paid for and carried out by a British scientist, and the specimens may have been available for any researcher to use, but this still doesn’t mean Britain has any claim to them. The seeds were taken from soil that belongs to Turkey, therefore they belong to and have to remain the property of the country.

All potatoes are Peruvian no doubt…..

What really worries is that this world view contains no room at all for the very idea of “private property”. It is not true that all things and everything belong to some government or other, our task only being to find out which one. And this is in The Times……makes those columns about whether Britain should sell AIM understandable now. They’ve just not grasped that as Britain doesn’t own the company then the country doesn’t get to decide who does own the company.

17 thoughts on “What?”

  1. Of course, using modern anti-colonialist theory, Turks are merely Settler-Colonists/ Imperialists from central Asia who genocided the indigenous population; so the seeds really belong to the Greeks.

    De-Colonise Anatolia now!

  2. What a silly article but pretty typical of what UK broadsheets turn out these days. Here is a short synopsis of what took place.

  3. One might also view it in the optic of the parable of the talents. There was plenty of time to grow plants to make more seeds, but they didn’t.

  4. Newspapers have been overrun by these upper middle class women with money and attractiveness who don’t have to work much. They’ve probably had nothing but a pampered life of organic, fairtrade, sourdough, hands-across-the-world bullshit because there’s a husband or father paying the rent by running a company selling arms to the Arabs. They’re basically like children.

  5. Bloke on M4. If only they were like children. Then we could treat their brainless mummerings as childish nonsense rather than have it fill the papers and the airwaves.

    In her case, having a Turkish father and a Turkish husband seems to swayed her thinking and have trumped common sense. But then most of her writing is woke/leftist/socialist.

  6. Surely by the ‘Turkish soil’ argument all Turks ought to eff off home from any other country they find themselves in, and take their turkish seed with them.

  7. @philip

    Eh? I don’t think the point of an archaeological seed reference collection is trying to get the things to sprout.

  8. and take their turkish seed with them

    Between their Turkish legs. Unless they’re called Onan in which case the Turkish soil is the winner.

  9. 90% of modern UK media articles are sophistry designed to explain why Britain and the British are shit and deserve to be shafted by everyone else. The remaining 10% are in the Guardian and so don’t even bother with the sophistry.

  10. Sara Tor is very annoying and stupid. When she’s not denouncing Britain as islamophobic and racist, she’s cheerleading for Erdogan.

    She can’t grasp that the Erdogan’s islamo-fascism undermines private property and the rule of law, and that the seizure of the seed collection assembled at the British Institute by the late Gordon Hillman is illegal.

    The Turkish law concerning the conservation of moveable natural heritage (including ancient seeds) prevents removal of such items from Turkey, but doesn’t make such things state property. The law dates from 1983, according to UNESCO. Most of Gordon Hillman’s collection came from excavations in 1969-73, according to Wikipedia – ie before the law was passed. So Hillman collected the seeds legally and conserved them in Turkey, and the Turkish state has no right to them.

    It’s expropriation and (horti)cultural appropriation…

  11. The key word here is “ancient.” The seeds are irreplaceable. Turkey being a sovereign nation is allowed to make whatever laws it likes concerning historical artifacts. As a born cynic I’m curious to know if the seeds will be curated or shoved in someone’s desk drawer to be dustbinned when the next functionary gets the job.

  12. ‘All potatoes are Peruvian no doubt…..’

    And French vines are grown on imported American phylloxera resistant root stock.

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