Turkish mayor faces lawsuit over giant robot statue

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(Credit: Today's Zaman/Cihan)

ANKARA, Turkey — The mayor of Turkey’s capital city has a simple request for his constituents: respect the robot.

But instead of respect, he’s now facing a lawsuit from a group of angry engineers and architects alleging that he squandered taxpayer money by erecting a statue of a giant “Transformers”-style robot in the center of town.

According to Today’s Zaman newspaper, Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek is being sued by the local branch of the Turkish Union of Engineers and Architects’ Chambers for spending public resources on “a monstrosity” at a crossroads in Ankara, Turkey’s second-largest city with over five million residents.

“The money spent for the robot statues, which will be built for the Ankapark project and were referred to by Gökçek as his ‘prestige project,’ belongs to the inhabitants [of the city]. We filed a lawsuit [against Gökçek],” said Tezcan Karakuş Candan, the head of TMMOB’s Ankara branch, in a news conference on Tuesday.

The giant robot was erected on April 1, and was initially thought to be some sort of April Fool’s joke by the mayor, the newspaper reports. But Gökçek appears to be entirely serious about his big robot.

“Respect the robot,” he said in a statement.

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