Ankara’s New Mayor Removes Gökçek’s Controversial Dinosaur Statue

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Ankara’s New Mayor Removes Gökçek’s Controversial Dinosaur Statue

A controversial three-meter high, 10-meter long dinosaur statue, which had greeted Ankara residents at a main road intersection from 2015, was quietly removed on the morning of Nov. 27 upon the instructions of new Ankara Mayor Mustafa Tuna.

Since coming to office in November, Tuna has moved to erase some of the more eccentric traces of previous Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek.

Officials from the Ankara Greater Municipality completed the removal of the statue early on Nov. 27 and transferred it to storage. Last week, a large and equally contentious fountain in front of the Ankara Greater Municipality building was also removed.

Gökçek, who first became mayor in 1994, was forced to resign in late October by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the head of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Tuna, who had been the mayor of the capital’s Sincan district, was elected by the municipality chamber in early November.

The dinosaur statue was installed at the road intersection to replace a controversial Transformers-esque robot in early 2015, as part of promotion for a new theme park, AnkaPark, which Gökçek had described as a “prestige project.”

Gökçek installed several dinosaur statues at the planned amusement park, reportedly costing a total of 9 million Turkish Liras ($2,250,000).

The construction of the park was partly halted after a court ruling declared it illegal following an objection by the Ankara Chamber of Architects.

Tuna has suggested that a referendum could be held in the Turkish capital to decide on the fate of the AnkaPark.