Turkish sculptor faces jail for ‘insulting’ Erdogan

Turkish sculptor faces jail for ‘insulting’ Erdogan

A prominent Turkish sculptor risks over four years in prison on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after being locked in a dispute with the Turkish strongman over one of his works.

In March, a court found Erdogan guilty of insulting Mehmet Aksoy for calling the artist’s “Monument of Humanity” — created to promote reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia — a “monstrosity”.

The Ankara court ordered Erdogan to pay Aksoy 10,000 Turkish Liras ($ 3,750) in damages for insulting the renowned sculptor.

But now, prosecutors are seeking 56 months in prison for Aksoy on the grounds that he insulted the president in a comment on the controversy.
Prosecutors say that Aksoy implied that Erdogan’s earnings were illegitimate, an allegation the sculptor denies.

The case comes amid growing concern over the spiralling numbers of Turks being taken to court on charges of insulting Erdogan, who is accused by his opponents of mounting authoritarianism and intolerance of criticism.

Asked on what he would be spending the money received in the compensation case against Erdogan, Aksoy had said: “I would never make a sculpture with dirty money.”

It was an apparent reference to corruption allegations against Erdogan and his inner circle.