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Turkish Mayor Attempts to Save Armenia-Turkey Friendship Monument Planned for Demolition

The mayor of Karşıyaka in the Aegean district of İzmir has officially requested that the Kars’ “Monument of Humanity” be transferred to his municipality rather than being demolished, as some politicians have promised to do, reports Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

“We would cover all the costs. The monument would eventually be placed in Karşıyaka’s nicest neighborhood, Zübeyde Hanım, thus bringing a solution to the problem,” Cevat Durak, Karşıyaka’s mayor from the Republican People’s Party, was quoted as saying by daily Milliyet’s Thursday edition.

The monument, which is in fact dedicated to friendship between Turkey and Armenia, features a divided human figure, with one half extending a hand to the other half. It is meant to symbolize the pain of division and the hope of reconciliation, reports CP, and was sculpted from stone by Mehmet Aksoy, a prominent Turkish artist.

The municipality of the eastern province of Kars decided to demolish the peace monument after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan described it as “freakish” while on a visit to the province over the weekend.

Explaining the reasons behind his offer, Durak said his conscience told him that the monument should not be destroyed and that Turkey should not be regarded as a “country that demolishes monuments.”

Kars Municipality has positively responded to Durak’s request. “We are just trying to proceed in accordance with the law. The [monument] is placed in a protected area and we want to remove it,” said Kars Mayor Nevzat Bozkuş.

He also said they did not want the monument to be destroyed, noting that the municipality had spent 500,000 Turkish Liras for its construction and did not want to spend any more in demolishing it.

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