BAKU (Trend.az)—Azerbaijan’s ruling New Azerbaijan Party has welcomed remarks by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan calling for the dismantling of an unfinished monument to Turkish-Armenian friendship in the city of Kars.
“Erdogan’s decision to dismantle the monument to the Turkish-Armenian friendship in Kars is commendable,” NAP deputy executive secretary Mubariz Gurbanli said in an interview published on the party’s website Tuesday. “Dismantling this monument is quite logical. This decision reflects the reality and is completely legal.”
Visiting Kars on Sunday, Erdogan reportedly described the monument as a “monstrosity” that overshadows a nearby Islamic shrine. The AFP news agency cited Turkish media as saying that he ordered the Kars mayor, a member of his ruling Justice and Development Party, to replace it with a park.
The 100-foot unfinished concrete statue, located in the northeastern Turkish city of Kars close to the Armenian border, was commissioned in 2006 to promote dialogue and reconciliation between the two countries. It depicts two figures emerging from one human shape and symbolizing the pain of division.
Gurbanli said the monument was a justification of the “occupation policy of Armenia.” He also dismissed as ridiculous claims by the statue’s that the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations will bring economic benefits to Armenia.
“Armenia’s economy is backward and Turkey’s border regions will receive a tiny profit by carrying out trade with Armenia,” Gurbanli said. “There is no significance of trade with Armenia, whose state treasury is empty, and population is poor. The influential circles in Turkey are well aware of this.”
Gurbanli argued further that the erection of a friendship statue with Armenia is uncalled for because official Yerevan has “territorial claims against Turkey and tries to damage its international image through propaganda about the so-called Armenian Genocide.”