Sedat Cenikli - Hürriyet / Istanbul, April 2 () - At a time when he is under fire both within his party and from the opposition, the Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek has erected a “Transformers-esque” statue near Turkey’s new presidential palace.
The metal-polyester robot was erected on the main road intersection of the Atatürk Forest Farm in the Turkish capital on April 2, as part of promotion for a new theme park, the AnkaPark, which has been described as a “prestige project” by Gökçek.
Private broadcaster CNNTürk reported on April 2 that a total of 20 robots would be included at the new theme park when completed, though none of them are officially called “Transformers” due to copyright issues.
The construction of the park has been partly halted after a court ruling that declared it illegal, irking the controversial Gökçek.
The road intersection where the AnkaPark robot now stands is a few kilometers from the new presidential palace, which recently started witnessing its own “spectacular” show thanks to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s welcoming of foreign leaders flanked by actors dressed in the military costumes of 16 states founded throughout history by Turks.
Gökçek created controversy within his party last month by calling on Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to dismiss Deputy PM Bülent Arınç for engaging in a war of words with Erdoğan over the Kurdish peace process.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) had asked in parliamentary question whether the government would prosecute Gökçek after Arınç accused him of corruption.
After Davutoğlu reprimanded both Arınç and Gökçek, photos were shared on social media showing the latter with two “Transformer” robots, along with jokes that the mayor would win the political fight thanks to outsider help.
“Which otorobot is the most handsome?” Gökçek had asked in a tweet to his more than 2.5 million followers.