ANKARA — Turkey’s state-run news agency reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been ordered to pay a TL 10,000 (about $4,000) fine for calling a statue in the eastern province of Kars a “monstrosity.”
Erdogan expressed his dislike in 2011 of Mehmet Aksoy’s giant “Monument to Humanity,” which was being erected in the eastern city of Kars, prompting local authorities there to dismantle it. Aksoy then sued Erdogan for “insult.”
The Istanbul 3rd Civil Court of Peace ruled on Tuesday that Erdogan must pay the fine to Aksoy for psychological damage the president caused by calling the statue in Kars a monstrosity.
Erdogan and Aksoy were represented by their lawyers during the hearing. Speaking to journalists, Erdogan’s lawyer Erdopan Ferah Yildiz said they will file an appeal against the court decision.
“They put a monstrosity next to the tomb of [Muslim scholar] Hasan Harakani. It is impossible to think that such a thing should exist next to fundamental works of art.” Erdogan said and that he hopes Kars Mayor Nevzat Bozkus, who hails from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), will do what is necessary with the area in which the statue is located by the time he visits again, and mentioned that he hopes he builds a park there instead.
The statue was taken down on June 14, 2011, by the Kars Municipality.
Aksoy, the sculptor of the statue, strongly criticized Erdogan’s comment, saying that his work carries anti-war themes and messages of friendship. He then filed a lawsuit against Erdogan for insulting his statue, seeking TL 100,000 in compensation for psychological damage sustained due to the insult.
The statue, which is of two 30-meter-tall concrete figures reaching out to each other, was built on a hill above Kars, just 40 kilometers from the Armenian border, in 2008. The “Monument to Humanity” was also meant to symbolize the friendship between Turkey and Armenia.