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Memorial statue for dead refugee children defaced in Turkey’s south

17:35 Aug 18 2016 Silifke, Mersin, Mediterranean Region, Turkey

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A statue carved in memory of refugee children who have died at sea while trying to escape from their countries has been defaced in the Silifke district of southern Mersin province. The statue, which was made two months ago by Malik Bulut during the 43th International Culture Week organized by the Silifke Municipality, was destroyed by unknown vandals. Several pieces of the statue were broken and thrown beside a river in the attack, which drew widespread criticism.

“I’m very sad, I wish it didn’t happen. Art, artists and even humanity should have been supported. I’m just sad,” Bulut told Doğan News Agency on July 14, as he added that the starting point of his work was the “refugee disasters taking place on nearly an everyday basis in Turkey and the world.”

“We carved the footprints of children in memory of the dead ones onto our statue shaped as a boat. Moreover, there were spots on the statue for children to sit and play on. I wanted the boats to not carry the dead bodies of innocent children. I wanted them to be a part of their games,” he also said.

Another name who criticized the attack was the head of Silifke’s city council, Rıfat Karaduman, who voiced his sadness.

“The sculptors invited from several places produced beautiful pieces of art after working for days for Silifke, which is a member of the Union of Historical Towns. The attack on labor, art and the artist by the people who are the enemies of art made us sad, as we were expecting these statutes to be completed and placed in the appropriate places in the district,” Karaduman told Doğan News Agency.

“We are really sad. We hope that the officials don’t give up on these statues and contribute to the existence of pieces of art in our district. I hope that a similar incident against art won’t take place again,” he also said.
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