March 21, 2019

Turkey peace monument being demolished

Turkey's Statue of Humanity has become the victim of politics.

The Turkish government ordered demolition of a huge statue devoted to reconciliation with Armenia has started.

In January Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on a visit to the area described the Statue of Humanity monument as a “freak”, and an affront to a nearby 11th Century shrine.

The massive 30 metre high statue of two figures facing each other – one with an outstretched hand – stands on a mountain top near the Turkish city of Kars, which is close to the Armenian border. It was never completed.

Commissioned by Local authorities several years ago, the statue, designed by sculptor Mehmet Aksoy, was meant to symbolise an end to decades of hate and mistrust between Armenia and Turkey.

Artists had tried to save the statue. Aksoy told Anatolia news agency
“I am really sorry, sorry on behalf of Turkey. They can demolish it, we will re-make it.”

Kars was once the home to a large Armenian community but hundreds of thousands of them were killed in 1915 at the hands of the Turkish government.

In 2009, Turkey and Armenia agreed to normalise relations and, in that spirit, the former mayor of Kars commissioned the sculpture.

With the Turkish parliamentary elections coming up in June there has been critcism of Prime Minister Erdogan’s action as just being an election stunt to appease nationalists and secure much needed support for his Justice and Development Party.

One wise newswarped reader on Reddit has commented that “Someone should send a peace flotilla to Turkey”. Cool idea.