Umut Erdem - Hürriyet / Istanbul, March 5 () - The artist who will be paid 10,000 Turkish Liras in compensation from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, after the latter called his sculpture to promote reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia a “freak” is planning to spend the money on a March 21, Nevruz holiday celebration with his friends.
“I will invite friends on March 21 for Nevruz celebrations and will spend the money there. I will share it with them. We cannot do anything else with haram money,” said sculptor Mehmet Aksoy.
Aksoy said the ruling showed that politicians cannot speak in such a way and should appreciate arts and artists.
“Artists and art must not be shoved around. We should protect our freedoms and the realm of freedom. This ruling has proven that,” he said, adding that he is happy justice has been served.
“There are judges who still have sense of justice, that is to say there are judges of the Republic. Nobody can humiliate another because of his arrogance,” he added.
While he was still serving as prime minister in 2011, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed his dislike of Aksoy’s giant “Monument to Humanity,” which was in the process of being built in the eastern province of Kars, on the border with Armenia, prompting the local authorities to dismantle the sculpture.
Aksoy then sued Erdoğan for “insulting” him. An Istanbul court ruled on March 3 for Erdoğan to pay 10,000 liras in moral indemnities to Aksoy, partially accepting the 100,000 liras case Aksoy had filed against Erdoğan.
While Aksoy’s attorney defended their case by saying that labeling the sculpture a “freak” was an insult to Aksoy, Erdoğan’s attorney claimed that it was not as an insult, but rather a critique.