Turkey’s top court has sentenced the state to pay compensation to a sculptor over the demolition of one of his statues that was once described as a “freak” by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The Constitutional Court has ruled the state to pay 20,000 Turkish Liras to sculptor Mehmet Aksoy, whose 35-meter-tall “Monument to Humanity” in the northeastern province of Kars was demolished following Erdoğan’s remarks.
Aksoy built the sculpture in 2006 on the request of the ruling Justice and Government Party (AKP) district municipality.
The sculpture was demolished following Erdoğan’s visit to Kars, prompting Aksoy to file a complaint over the violation of his right to freedom of expression.
In its verdict, the Constitutional Court has said that the sculptor’s freedom of expression was violated, adding that the statue could have been transferred somewhere else.
“The possibility of taking the statue somewhere else without harming it could have been examined and negotiations could have been carried out with the statue’s owner to find a common ground,” the court said, adding that the state failed to fulfill its positive obligations regarding the protection of a work of art.
“The bodies that were using public power failed to show the sensitivity required to protect the artistic freedom of expression that’s guaranteed by the Constitution,” it also said.
Aksoy also won a previous case, with the court sentencing Erdoğan to pay 10,000 Turkish Liras as compensation to the sculptor in 2015.