Turkey’s wax museum opens doors in Eskişehir

Turkey’s wax museum opens doors in Eskişehir

ESKİŞEHİR - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey’s wax museum opens doors in Eskişehir

The wax museum opened its doors over on May 19 with the attendance of many of the artists and public figures whose replicas now adorn the museum.

Political figures that have left their mark on Turkish history, veteran artists, leading scientists and prominent journalists are all on standby, waiting for a visit in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir.

The Professor Dr. Yılmaz Büyükerşen Wax Museum opened its doors over on May 19 with the attendance of many of the artists and public figures whose replicas now adorn the museum.

Büyükerşen, who makes wax statues when not running the city in his capacity of mayor of Eskişehir, completed 160 wax sculptures for the museum after years of work and invited living artists to see “themselves,” on May 19, the Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day.

“My facial lines are exaggerated, but it’s just like me,” said veteran Turkish thespian Haldun Dormen while standing next to his own sculpture.

“Several times I came here to Eskişehir for Büyükerşen to work face to face with me and the result is pretty satisfying,” he told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Wax sculptor Büyükerşen

Perhaps Turkey’s most accomplished wax sculptor, Büyükerşen created the Mustafa Kemal Atatürk wax sculpture exhibited at Ankara’s Anıtkabır Museum, the wax sculptures in the second Grand National Assembly of Turkey, as well as a sculpture of a 17-year-old Atatürk at a military high school in Bitola, Macedonia, that once counted the future leader of Turkey as one of its pupils.

“We are the outcome of our history and our value equals the historical people we have. We have a past to be proud of, we have raised people to be proud of, but in my opinion, they have not been appreciated enough. That’s why I like wax sculptures, I hope the sculptures I have made will contribute to making peace with our own history and people,” Büyükerşen said.

Iconic Turkish musician Orhan Gencebay, who was recently named to the Wise Persons’ Commission to strengthen public support for the ongoing peace process of Turkey, is also among the ones whose sculpture is now on display. Gencebay posed with the sculpture of Aşık Veysel, modern Turkey’s most famous minstrel, before posing with his own sculpture saying, “He is our teacher; he comes first.”

Actresses Göksel Kortay and Nevra Serezli, actors Rutkay Aziz and Tarık Akan, as well as daily Hürriyet columnist and managing editor Tufan Türenç were also present at the opening.

“Büyükerşen has created a miracle again, it’s a must see,” Türenç said.

Some actresses, however, took issue with their representations. “I never do my hair like that,” Serezli complained, but added that she was grateful to Büyükerşen for making her “immortal.”

The museum also bears a section called “Democracy” where former presidents İsmet İnönü, Turgut Özal and Süleyman Demirel, as well as former prime ministers Bülent Ecevit and Necmettin Erbakan, can be seen. However Adnan Menderes, Turkey’s first democratically elected prime minister, stands in a separate, special place. Menderes was executed by a military junta in 1961.

Current politicians such as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli are also presented. The museum also bears international figures such as U.S. President Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth II and celebrities like Angelina Jolie.

Parliament to solve the issue

Turkey’s Wise Persons’ Commission is not necessarily crucial to resolving the country’s three-decade-long Kurdish issue and it is the Turkish Parliament that will solve the issue, Gencebay said. In his meetings with locals, Gencebay, a member of the commission tasked with strengthening public support for the ongoing peace process, said he saw that the Turkish public was not actually aware of the problem. “Is there a war that you are trying to end, they asked me,” he told. “I answered this peace is about us living together with our differences in religion, ethnicities, ideologies and cultures under the same roof,” he said. The Wise Persons’ Commission will complete its mission at the beginning of June and hand its final report to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.