Court orders Turkey's Erdogan to pay damages after he calls sculpture a monstrosity

A Turkish court has ordered President Tayyip Erdogan (above) to pay compensation to a sculptor whose work he described as a monstrosity, turning the tables on the leader after members of the public have repeatedly faced legal action for insulting him
A Turkish court has ordered President Tayyip Erdogan (above) to pay compensation to a sculptor whose work he described as a monstrosity, turning the tables on the leader after members of the public have repeatedly faced legal action for insulting him. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ANKARA (REUTERS) - A Turkish court has ordered President Tayyip Erdogan to pay compensation to a sculptor whose work he described as a monstrosity, turning the tables on the leader after members of the public have repeatedly faced legal action for insulting him.

Among them were a 13-year-old boy who was questioned this week for a Facebook post and a former Miss Turkey beauty queen facing possible jail for alleged derogatory tweets.

Erdogan's 2011 remarks about the imposing statue - entitled Humanity Monument and perched on a hill above the eastern city of Kars - went down badly with its creator Mehmet Aksoy, who launched legal proceedings against him.

A court in Istanbul ruled in favour of Aksoy, ordering Erdogan to pay 10,000 lira (S$5,300) in damages for the comments, made during an official visit.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion... but a prime minister addressing people at a major square in a city as if this is a state view is unacceptable," Aksoy told Reuters on Wednesday.

Erdogan's lawyers argued that he was simply offering a critique of the sculpture, which depicted two figures facing each other and has subsequently been dismantled, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.

Aksoy said he believed Erdogan's lawyers would appeal, but vowed a party for his artist friends if he receives the money.