ISTANBUL, Turkey, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- A Turkish professor has requested that the bones of Saint Nicholas, the original Santa Claus, be returned to Turkey from the Vatican.
Akdeniz University Archaeology Professor Nevzat Cevik alleged the bones were taken from Turkey "by force" in 1087 and buried in a church in the Bari province of Italy, Hurryiet Daily News reported Sunday.
"This has nothing to do with tourism. Returning his bones to his grave in Demre [a town in the southern province of Antalya] is a human wish," Cevik said.
Cevik said Saint Nicholas would have wanted to be buried in the funerary chapel next to his church in Demre. The Saint Nicholas Church was built in the 4th century A.D., in current-day Demre, where Saint Nicholas lived.