Turkish court stays demolition of Kars statue
ISTANBUL – Daily News with wires | 3/8/2011 12:00:00 AM |
An administrative court in the eastern province of Erzurum has granted a stay of execution against the demolition of Kars’ Monument to Humanity. (UPDATED)
An administrative court in the eastern province of Erzurum has granted a stay of execution against the demolition of Kars’ Monument to Humanity, a peace sculpture described as “freakish” by the prime minister in January.
“The Erzurum 1st Administrative Court granted a motion for a stay of execution of the Kars Municipal Assembly’s decision to demolish the ‘Monument to Humanity’ in order to avoid any [possible] irrevocable damage that could be done to the statue,” said lawyer Aslı Kazan, who is acting on behalf of the sculpture’s creator, Mehmet Aksoy.
The sculpture cannot be demolished until the court case is finalized, Kazan told Anatolia news agency on Monday.
Aksoy brought court action against a decision by the eastern province of Kars to demolish the sculpture after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the monument looked “freakish” and vowed to take it down.
The court decision came on the same day an auction was to be held in the eastern province to select the company that would demolish the statue. Six companies presented their proposals to the tendering authority Monday.
If the Erzurum court eventually chooses to permit the demolition of the sculpture, the company that wins the auction will be given 60 days by the local municipality to remove the Monument to Humanity. The sculpture will reportedly be dismantled before being carted away.
Erdoğan sparked controversy on the monument during his visit earlier this year when he said the monument, which is placed on a high hill overlooking the city, was both “freakish” and threatened to overshadow historical locations such as the Seyyid Hasal El Harakani tomb and mosque.
After the prime minister ordered the sculpture’s demolition, Kars’ municipal assembly passed a motion to tear down the monument, saying it had been illegally erected in a protected area.
The unfinished monument, which depicts two figures meeting, is 35 meters tall, weighs 300 tons and is meant to represent efforts to foster friendship between the Turkish and Armenian peoples. Aksoy has planned for one of the figures to shed a tear in regret while the other extends its hand in reconciliation if permission is granted for the completion of the monument.