Back in the '60s, Kenan Atakol got an engineering degree from the University of Virginia. So it was not surprising last year when Atakol, then "foreign minister" of northern Cyprus, donated 20 ancient pieces of pottery to his alma mater. There was, however, a small problem: The pottery was Greek, and Atakol is a Turk. His northern Cyprus, which the Turks took from the predominently Greek government in 1974, is recognized only by Turkey. Now Cyprus, which has an embassy here, wants the pots back. "There are several objects which appear from time to time in the antiquities market abroad, where we can prove ownership , and we claim them back. We have been successful in several cases," said Vassos Karageorghis, Cyprus' director of antiquities, during a recent visit here. Karageorghis has been all over the world reclaiming art objects. While here, he and embassy officials drove to Charlottesville. University official Alexander G. Gilliam Jr. found Karageorghis "an extremely charming man . . . They had their say and looked at the pieces . . . The collection is of no great value, apparently . . . It's not on display." According to the State Department, no U.S. law has been broken. Said Gilliam: "I don't know what we're going to do at this point."