(A.W.)—The Kars Municipal Assembly deliberated on the fate of the controversial Statue of Humanity in late January and decided to demolish it. While members of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) opposed its proposed demolition, representatives from the other two parties, which included 11 members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and eight members of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), voted in favor, reported Anatolian News Agency on Feb. 1.
Thus, the fate of the statue seems to be sealed, unless an intervention stops the demolition.
The statue, the work of renowned Turkish sculptor Mehmet Aksoy, consists of two figures—meant to be one—standing face-to-face, with one extending a hand to the other.
In a Jan. 8 visit to Kars, Erdogan fueled a debate on the future of the monument when he declared it a “freak” and “abomination,” and called for its demolition and replacement with “a beautiful park.”
“They have placed an abomination next to the Mausoleum of Hasan Harakani. They erected a strange thing,” the prime minister was quoted as saying in the Hurriyet newspaper.
Authorities also claimed the statue lacked a zoning permit, and that it stands on a historic 16th-century military site.
According to Aksoy, he created the sculpture to acknowledge the pain rooted in the division between Turkey and Armenia, and to promote peace, brotherhood, and rapprochement between the two countries.
The decision to demolish the statue was reached despite recent efforts by two mayors to transport the statue to their districts. Hacibektas, a small district in the Central Anatolian province of Nevsehir, asked that the monument be moved to its district.
Similarly, Mayor Cevat Durak of Karsiyaka, the Aegean district of Izmir, expressed his wish to have the monument transferred to his area. “We would cover all the costs. The monument would eventually be placed in Karsiyaka’s nicest neighborhood, Zubeyde Hanim, thus bringing a solution to the problem,” he was quoted as saying.
On Jan. 26, Hurriyet reported that the debated statue would be moved across Turkey to Karsiyaka, However, the latest report puts that story to rest.
At the onset of the recent debates, Aksoy claimed that the 100-foot-tall and 300-ton-heavy statue could only be destroyed by placing dynamite inside it, inevitably harming its surrounding. Sources have claimed authorities are exploring alternative ways to demolish the statue.