A statue of Nasreddin Hodja - a unique and entertaining character from Turkish folklore - located at a stopover facility in the Central Anatolian province of Konya has stirred debate among Turkish social media users, daily Habertürk has reported.
The statue in the stopover facility next to a highway between Konya and the Aegean province of Afyonkarahisar was criticized for its “primitive” design.
Salih Akkaya, the mayor of Konya’s Akşehir district, said he was informed about the sculpture, calling it “disappointing.”
“This sculpture is disrespectful to Nasreddin Hodja, whose life became jokes in folklore tales. Nasreddin Hodja is a precious figure and a wise man who actually tells thought-provoking stories about people through jokes with life anecdotes and humor,” he said.
Akkaya said the municipality will patent Nasreddin Hodja figures and his name.
“We are working on securing patents to prevent the unauthorized use of Nasreddin Hodja’s name. When we finish it, we will send it to the Culture Ministry. This way, we will prevent activities that would misrepresent the character of Nasreddin Hodja,” he added.
Meanwhile, another statue of Nasreddin Hodja located in a different stopover facility was also criticized by locals.
Officials from the facility said they may remove the statue as it depicted Nasreddin Hodja riding his donkey backwards.
Atıf Zengin, an architect said to have designed the sculpture, denied claims that it was designed by him.
“I am the architect of the facility but I do not know who built this statue in front of the facility. They asked me how much I would charge them to design it but they said it was too expensive. That figure, which resembles everything else but Nasreddin Hodja, also damages my name,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mehmet Ceylan, the manager of the facility, said they did not receive any complaints yet about the statue.
“The statue was not made by us, but we are ready to have our share,” he added.