ISTANBUL (Combined Sources)–Turkish sculptor Mehmet Aksoy faces more than four years in prison after being accused of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Prosecutors in Istanbul have demanded 56 months in jail for the artist who allegedly insulted the Turkish president by saying Erdogan’s earnings were illegitimate.
In March, a sculpture by Aksoy titled “Monument to Humanity”, made to encourage reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia, was called a “monstrosity” by Erdogan. In response, Aksoy sued Erdogan, who was ordered to pay 10,000 TL ($3,750) for insulting the sculptor and his work.
Now, Aksoy faces over four years in jail for comments made about the money Erdogan was ordered to pay him. When asked what he would do with the compensation and if he would use it specifically for sculpting, Aksoy said that he would not use “illicit” money for his art, according to Today’s Zaman.
Aksoy has denied insulting Erdogan, saying, “My words were not meant to insult the president. I meant that this money just fell in my lap and was not earned through the sweat of your brow.”
The controversial 115-foot tall sculpture of two human figures, with one holding an open hand toward Armenia, overlooks an area in Kars near the country’s border with Armenia.
Local authorities began demolition of the sculpture in April 2011.