Constitutional Court: Demolition of ‘Monument of Humanity’ a Right Violation

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  • July 12, 2019
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The Constitutional Court has ruled that the demolition of the “Monument of Humanity” violated sculptor Mehmet Aksoy’s freedom of expression and arts and he shall be paid compensation. Six of the 14 members of the top court gave an opposing vote to the verdict.

Speaking to bianet after the verdict, Aksoy said, “People, relying on the political power, see themselves above the law. This verdict is an indication that the law is above individuals. This verdict is an indication of the freedoms of art and expression. My art, which was called a “freak,” has been acquitted as the monument of humanity.”

Aksoy added that he hopes the President reviews “his thoughts of fait accompli,” after the verdict.

“Demolition of my statue harmed Turkey’s image in the world public opinion. I believe in the power of my art and did not give up doing my art. I will put the Monument of Humanity in its place again. This time, I will build the statue, also recording what it lived,” he said.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

What happened?

In a visit to the northeastern city of Kars on January 8, 2011, then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the monument a “freak,” wanted it to be demolished.

An administrative court gave a verdict of suspension of execution regarding the demolition of the building, but the regional administrative court overturned that decision.

The Mayor of Kars, Naif Alibeyoğlu, said at the time that the monument had been built as a gesture “in response to the Genocide Monument in Armenia”.

The Municipality of Kars then opened a tender for the demolition of the monument. A company won the tender for 272 thousand Turkish liras and began the demolition on April 26, 2011.

Aksoy filed a lawsuit for compensation against Erdoğan for calling the monument a “freak.” Erdoğan was sentenced to pay 10 thousand liras to Aksoy for non-pecuniary damages. But a local court overturned that verdict. (DB/EKN/VK)