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CHP municipality insults mosques, headscarves in exhibition
1.       tunci
7149 posts
 30 Apr 2011 Sat 09:20 pm

CHP municipality insults mosques, headscarves in exhibition

29 April 2011, Friday / MEHMET KURU, ESKIŞEHIR

The painting in the exhibit depicts a mosque bedecked with lights strung between two figures of a controversial statue in place of minarets and spelling out “Ucube” (monstrosity)


An exhibition at an art gallery belonging to the Tepebaşı Municipality in Eskişehir, run by the main opposition Republican People´s Party (CHP), featured items mocking mosques and the Muslim headscarf.

Titled “Ucube-Ebucu,” the name of the exhibition referred to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan´s description of a statue in the eastern province of Kars as a “monstrosity.” The prime minister´s remarks caused controversy and the municipal council in Kars recently started demolishing the statue. The statue comprises two 30-meter-high concrete figures. Called the “Statue of Humanity,” the figures symbolize the friendship between Turkey and Armenia.

In one of the paintings on exhibition, the minarets of a mosque are replaced by the figures of the statue. The mosque is bedecked with lights strung between the figures, which read “Ucube” (monstrosity). In another painting, half of the face of a headscarf-wearing woman is seen covered up with a bra. The exhibition was opened by Tepebaşı Mayor Ahmet Ataç, the sculptor of the Kars statue Mehmet Aksoy and former Culture Minister Ercan Karakaş. In the wake of mounting criticism, the exhibition was shut down on Thursday.

Religious Affairs Directorate head Mehmet Görmez said he was saddened by the insults directed at mosques and the headscarf in the exhibition. “I learned about the exhibition from the newspapers today. It deeply saddened me as the head of the Religious Affairs Directorate. Mosques, a strong symbol of unity and solidarity for our nation, should not become polemical. Mosques are places for worship. They also symbolize our freedom and independence. Therefore, it is not appropriate to call a mosque a ‘monstrosity’,” he stated.

The Grand Unity Party (BBP) filed a criminal complaint against the exhibition at the Eskişehir Public Prosecutor’s Office. The head of the Odunpazarı branch of the party, Salim Tarım, issued a statement in which he criticized the CHP for insulting the religious sensitivities of the Turkish nation. “The paintings in the exhibition attacked mosques and the attire of religious people. We denounce everyone who organized the exhibition. It is a crime to interfere in the religious beliefs and lifestyles of other people. A crime has been committed in the exhibition,” the statement read.

Mayor Ataç spoke to reporters and defended himself, saying that he was not aware of the existence of the controversial paintings when he attended the opening ceremony. “I am a person who respects mosques and people’s freedom of religion. I have never been opposed to religious beliefs. All residents of Eskişehir know it. I saw the paintings on a website after a reporter told me about them. It is not possible to approve of the paintings. I do not believe that it would be possible to tolerate the paintings in the name of art,” he noted.

According to head of Yozgat Bar Association Fahri Açıkgöz it is disrespectful to call a mosque a “monstrosity.” “The artworks are greatly insulting. They disrespect the values of Muslims and the Turkish nation. No explanation can justify the mistake. We harshly denounce the paintings,” he noted.

Religious Officials’ Union (Diyanet-Sen) President Mehmet Bayraktutar called on the CHP to launch an investigation into the exhibition and discharge party officials who are implicated in the scandal from the party. “If the mayor really organized that exhibition, then he should immediately resign from the post entrusted to him by the nation,” he noted. He also added that religious values should not be targeted because of political matters.

In February, Kars Mayor Nevzat Bozkuş said the statue was erected without required permission from the Supreme Council of Monuments. Its sculptor, Aksoy, however, argued that he had obtained the required permit to erect the statue. The sculpture was installed in 2008. Critics of Erdoğan’s characterization of the statue as a “monstrosity” believe that an order to demolish the statue signals the depth of a freeze in efforts to reopen the border and improve relations between Armenian and Turkey.

In addition, head of the Chamber of Merchants and Craftsmen Uğur Bektaş harshly reacted to the paintings displayed in the exhibition. He said mosques are places for worship and that no one has the right to insult them. “The paintings were a great insult to Muslims. No one can refer to mosques as a ‘monstrosity.’ I harshly condemn those who created the paintings and who lent support to the display of those paintings in the exhibition,” he noted.

Mehmet Alkan, one of the visitors to the exhibition, said he was disappointed by the paintings. “They [painters] did not make art. They made fun of the values of religious people. They showed them disrespect. How can a mayor who was elected by the votes of the public insult the values of the public?” he asked.

Note :  Yes, the painter did not make art. It is not nice to make fun of the values of people"s religions,beliefs,choises,race,..etc...

whether that is muslim or christian beliefs, we should respect values of public.

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