Topkapı Palace Museum Director Yusuf Benli allegedly had the throne of Sultan Selim III carried to a housing complex he resides in inside the garden of the museum; however, the attempt failed as the throne was too large to get through the doors of the museum and Benli’s building, the Radikal daily reported on Friday.
The move was photographed, and Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertuğrul Günay was informed. He has opened an investigation into the incident and reportedly said he will do whatever is necessary if the allegations prove to be true.
According to İlber Ortaylı, the Topkapı Palace Museum’s highest authority, “Mr. Director [Benli] must have mixed up the housing complex with the Harem — where the throne was originally on exhibit. We are looking into the issue.” Benli denies the allegations.
Speaking during a visit to a museum in İzmir on Friday, Günay said Benli had defended himself, saying the depot was full and that he had ordered the throne to be moved to the housing complex because there were empty rooms there.
Radikal’s article also claimed the throne was moved on a rainy day. When the movers realized it could not get through the door of the housing complex, they left it in front of the door for a while, covered with a white canvas. When Benli was informed that the throne was too large to fit through the door, he allegedly responded that it had to — even if the door frame had to be expanded by breaking down the wall. Once it became clear that the door inside the housing complex was also too narrow, the throne was taken to a museum depot.
Michael Jackson wanted to sit on the famous throne and use it in one of his video clips in 1992, but the museum administration declined this request.