Statue of Turkey’s first ballerina damaged in sexual assault
A statue in Istanbul depicting Turkey’s first ballerina has been damaged in a sexual assault, local media reported Nov. 19.
According to daily Evrensel, Turkish ballerina Meriç Sümen’s statue, which was on display as part of an exhibition in Istanbul’s Maltepe district, was attacked by four unidentified men and two women late Nov. 19.
“An apparently intoxicated man pulled down his trousers and attempted to rape the statue. The group initially ran away after a local shopkeeper reacted, but then they returned and pulled the statue, breaking it,” an eyewitness told the newspaper.
İnci Şenel, president of Babil Culture, Arts and Science Association, which owns the statue, said they could not file a criminal complaint as there were no security cameras in the neighborhood showing the assault.
“It is very saddening. This is where words have no function. Moral values are ruined,” she said.
Hürriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan also criticized the assault in his column on Nov. 20.
“‘But the ballerina was wearing a very short skirt. What was she doing there at night? And was she not standing there in a seductive way?’ Who will be the first ones to ask these questions now?” Hakan wrote sarcastically.
Born in 1943, Meriç Sümen had become an internationally renowned Turkish ballerina in the 1960s, still remaining the first and only “state ballerina.” She retired at 62 years old after serving as the general manager of the Ankara State Opera and Ballet in the 2000s.