|Debate in Turkey Over Armenia Monument: Modern Art or a Blight on the Landscape?|
the monument that features a divided human figure, with one half extending a hand to the other half, symbolizing the pain of division and the hope of reconciliation, sculpted from stone by Mehmet Aksoy, a prominent Turkish artist, in the eastern city of Kars, Turkey. Modern art or a blight on the landscape? A giant monument to friendship between historic enemies Turkey and Armenia has become a symbol of controversy rather than healing. Turkey's prime minister said the monument near the Armenian border is a "freak" that overshadows a nearby Islamic shrine, underscoring complex tensions in predominantly Muslim Turkey over religious piety and free expression in a society torn between the modern and the traditional. AP Photo/Mehmet Aksoy.
By: Christopher Torchia, Associated Press
ISTANBUL (AP).- Modern art or a blight on the landscape? A giant monument to friendship between historic enemies Turkey and Armenia has become a symbol of controversy rather than healing.
Turkey's prime minister said the monument near the Armenian border is a "freak" that overshadows a nearby Islamic shrine, underscoring complex tensions in predominantly Muslim Turkey over religious piety and free expression in a society torn between the modern and the traditional.
The monument 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, and was sculpted from stone by Mehmet Aksoy, a prominent Turkish artist.
"We would not show any sign of disrespect against any artist or tear down and discard his work of art," Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunay said Monday. "The theme of the monument is correct, it gives the message of friendship. But there has been a controversy over the location of it for several years."
The monument has yet to be completed, and local authorities halted its construction on grounds that it was built on a historic military site, Timur Pasha emplacement, used to defend the city in the 16th century. Newspapers published pictures of the monument with a gigantic hand, which has to be installed, sitting on the foreground.
On a weekend visit to Kars, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the monument as an affront to the shrine of Hasan Harakani, one of the pioneers of Islam in the area in the 11th century.
"They have put a freak near the shrine," Hurriyet newspaper quoted Erdogan as saying. "They have erected something weird. The municipality will turn that place into a nice park."
Hurriyet cited Aksoy as saying that he wanted to finish the monument.
"If it still does not make sense, then I will join them in tearing it down," he said.
Some hardline nationalists criticized the monument on grounds that it suggested Turkey was apologetic toward Armenia.
The 35-meter (115-feet) high monument was seen as a symbol of efforts to end a century of enmity between Turkey and Armenia. The neighboring countries are locked in a bitter dispute over the mass killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I, which is deemed a genocide by many international experts. Turkey says the toll has been inflated and those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.
A 2009 agreement between Turkey and Armenia, meant to open the way to diplomatic ties and the reopening of their shared border, has been dealt a setback by the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Turkey wants Armenian troops withdrawn from the Armenian-occupied enclave in Azerbaijan. Turkey closed the border in 1993 to protest Armenia's war with Azerbaijan, a close Muslim ally.
Aksoy's work has attracted controversy in the past. A court in 2002 ordered the mayor of Ankara, Mehmet Gokcek, to pay a symbolic fine in compensation to the artist after he had the artist's statue of a nude removed from a park in the Turkish capital for alleged obscenity in 1994. The removal sparked criticism by activists who said freedom of expression was being denied.
Most Turks are Muslim, but the constitution is secular. The current government is led by pious Muslims who have chipped away at the power of old secular elites.
Associated Press reporter Selcan Hacaoglu in Ankara contributed to this report.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
January 10, 2011
Exhibition of Photographs by Helmut Newton on View at the Kunsthaus Apolda Avant-Garde
Allan Stone Gallery Extends the Exhibition Alfred Leslie/John Chamberlain: Collage
Milton Avery & the End of Modernism to Open at Nassau County Museum of Art
Israel Museum Explores the Seasons with Works by Pissarro, Rodin, Sisley, and Others
John Lennon's Car: A Ferrari 330 GT to Sell at Bonhams' Paris Sale of Motor Cars
Kodachrome Film Processing by Southeast Kansas Business to Stop Soon
The End of Professional Photographic Darkrooms and Music Recording Studios at Riflemaker
First Pairing of Collages & Sculpture by New York Abstract Expressionist Artist Esteban Vicente
100 Troy Ounce Gold Nugget from California's Mother Lode Goes to the Auction Block
Debate in Turkey Over Armenia Monument: Modern Art or a Blight on the Landscape?
A Series of Works on Paper by Celia Gerard on View at Sears Peyton Gallery
ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries Showcasing Contemporary Chinese Artists
John F. Kennedy Library and Museum Marks 50th Anniversary of JFK Inauguration
The Wright, the Guggenheim's New Fine-Dining Restaurant, Wins Best of the Year Award
Four Emerging, Chicago-Based Cartoonists Exhibit at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
First Survey of Heinz Mack's Early Metal Reliefs 1957-1967 at Sperone Westwater
New Body of Work by Kansas-Born Max Cole at Haines Gallery in San Francisco
Derek Eller Gallery Opens Shows by Adam Marnie and Tom Thayer, and Ruby Sky Stiler
Ann Shostrom's First One-Person New York Exhibition in 18 Years at Elizabeth Harris Gallery
Landmark Exhibition of Iconic Works from Every Phase of Picasso's Career Leaves Seattle in Less Thank Two Weeks
Bruce Munro's Water-Towers at Salisbury Cathedral
Sydney L. Moss Ltd to Bring Japanese Art to New York in March
Green Art Gallery Presents "Lucid Dreaming", First Solo Exhibition of Works by Ebru Uygun
Monet's Water Lilies to Reunite in Missouri
Egypt: Missing Pieces of Colossal Statue Unearthed
PBS Launches Free Full-Length Video App for iPhone and iPod Touch and Antiques Roadshow Game App
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Leonardo da Vinci exhibition offers a very rare look at artist's fascination with beauty
2.- The Barnes Foundation discovers two sketches by Paul Cézanne behind watercolors
3.- From dust to digital: Millions of images from the world's endangered archives made available
4.- Exhibition at Kunsthaus Zurich explores Europes view of Japan in the 19th century
5.- Gustav Klimt's world-famous painting 'The Lovers' now available as a gigapixel photograph
6.- Belvedere highlights both the political and social aspects of The Congress of Vienna
7.- Crystal Bridges debuts an exhibition of masterworks from the collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery
8.- Rarely seen masterpieces from Europe's greatest dynasty on view in Minneapolis
9.- Rouen to open new museum dedicated to tracing the history of French heroine Joan of Arc
10.- Retrospective exhibition of Vivian Maier's photographs opens at Willy-Brandt Haus
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|