During his visit to Kars, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called a monument dedicated to the Armenian-Turkish friendship monstrous and subject to demolition.
Former Mayor of Kars Naif Alibeyoglu and the famous sculpture of the monument Mehmed Askol responded to the Turkish Premier’s statement.
In an interview with Turkish NTV the ex-mayor of Kars stated people should make an appraisal of the prime minister’s phrase “monstrous.”
“We sought to erect a monument to humanity. We have attempted to send a message of humanity to this militant world, having lost human values. We built this monument as counterbalance to genocide monuments in Armenia and Igdir, as monuments to genocide fueled vendetta between the two nations,” he said.
The sculptor of the monument Mehmed Aksol also gave a critical response to Erdogan’s statement. According to him, Erdogan will be similar to Taliban if he destroys the monument to peace. “What explanation will be given to the world if the monument to humanity and peace is ruined? Erdogan will become the first prime minister, who will destroy a monument to peace,” Askol stressed.
Former Mayor of Kars Naif Alibeyoglu has always stood for the opening of the Armenia-Turkey border without any preconditions and for this purpose organized a collection of signature in Kars. On his initiative, a large monument was put to represent the Armenian-Turkish friendship and peace. However, Alibeyoglu was defeated in the mayoral elections in 2009. The unfinished monument was put near the old Armenian district of Kars.
The monument is 30 meters high, which is tantamount to a 10-storey building and weighs 1500 tons.