President Erdoğan to pay sculptor compensation over ‘freak’ comment
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
The monument was dismantled in the following years as the monument’s site was declared a protected area. DHA PhotoA court has ordered President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to pay 10,000 Turkish Liras to the artist responsible for a sculpture in the northeastern province of Kars, which he had demanded the removal of and described as a “freak.”
During a Jan. 8, 2011 visit to Kars, then Prime Minister Erdoğan slammed the city’s new 35-meter-tall “Monument to Humanity,” created by sculptor Mehmet Aksoy.
An Istanbul court ruled on March 3 for Erdoğan to pay 10,000 liras in moral indemnities to Aksoy, partially accepting the 100,000 liras case Aksoy had filed against Erdoğan.
While Aksoy’s attorney defended their 100,000 liras case by saying that labeling the sculpture a “freak” was an insult to Aksoy, Erdoğan’s attorney claimed that it was not as an insult, but rather a critique.
The sculpture debate entered Kars’ agenda in 2005 when then Mayor Naif Alibeyoğlu, of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), tasked Aksoy with building a monument that would symbolize Turkish-Armenian friendship. The project included two figures facing each other, with an open hand facing them.
Alibeyoğlu, however, decided in 2008 to switch ranks and join the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). While the monument was still under construction that year, the Council of Monuments decided to stop its installation, arguing that the monument’s ground was actually a historical site. The monument was dismantled in the subsequent years, as its site was declared a protected area.