Turkish court says rights of demolished Turkish-Armenian monument sculptor violated

The Turkish Constitutional Court has ruled the freedom of expression of a renowned sculptor, whose monument in Turkey’s northeastern province of Kars was labelled a “freak” by the Turkish president and subsequently destroyed, had been violated.

The country’s top court ordered a 20,000 lira ($ 3483) compensation to be paid to sculptor Mehmet Aksoy over the destruction of his Statue of Humanity in 2011, news site Duvar reported on Monday. 

The 100-foot-long stone statue located about 30 miles from the Armenian border made headlines in January of 2011, when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared it a “freak” and “abomination,” calling for its demolition and replacement with a park.

The sculpture, which according to Aksoy who is of Armenian descent, paid homage to the pain rooted in the division between Turkey and Armenia, was demolished by local authorities a few months later.

Aksoy took the matter to Turkey’s Constitutional Court citing a violation of his freedom of expression.

The court on Monday ruled that authorities had disregarded provisions in the Turkish constitution regarding artistic freedom of expression.

The ruling follows an order by a Turkish court in 2015 for Erdoğan to pay Aksoy $4,000 in compensation.