Turkish President Erdogan fined 10,000 lira for calling statue symbolising peace a 'monstrosity'

The statue was a symbol of unity between Turkey and Armenia

Kashmira Gander
Thursday 05 March 2015 23:58 GMT
Mehmet Aksoy's Monument to Humanity when it was under construction
Mehmet Aksoy's Monument to Humanity when it was under construction

An Istanbul court has ordered Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pay an artist 10,000 Turkish Lira (£2,500) in compensation, after the politician called his sculpture a “monstrosity.”

Mehmet Aksoy's Monument to Humanity featured two human figures towering 30 metres above the eastern city of Kars, and was designed to symbolise reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia.

But Mr Erdogan made his feelings towards the piece clear in 2011, when, as Prime Minister, he visited the site and suggested it should be removed as it was being erected in the eastern city of Kars.

His comments prompted local authorities there to dismantle the artwork.

Aksoy subsequently sued Erdogan for “insult” to his work, the Anadolu Agency reported.

During the trial, the Turkish Language Association argued in court that the word Mr Erdogan used - "ucube", meaning monstrosity or freak - is not an insult, but rather means "very strange and very ugly", BBC News reported.

However, the court has now ordered Erdogan to compensate Aksoy for the mental anguish caused.

Relations between Turkey and Armenia have long been strained over the mass killings of Armenians under Ottoman rule, which mean the two nations have no diplomatic ties.

Next month marks the 100th anniversary of the start what experts call the Armenian Genocide - a term the Turkish government rejects.

The death toll of the tragedy is disputed, as Armenians say 1.5 million died, but Turkey estimates the total to be 300,000.

Additional reporting by AP

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