Wednesday, 11 May 2011
IAA Europe statement to situation in Turkey
To the Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr. Erdogan
IAA Europe represents one of five cultural regions of UNESCO, and is a member of the International Association of Art, IAA/AIAP – a global organization comprising visual artists. Our main goals are to improve international cooperation in the fields of artistic creativity, communication and collaboration between artists and their associations, and working conditions for visual artists.
IAA Europe is deeply concerned about a development in Turkey concerning the freedom of expression, including the recent murderous attack on Bedri Baykam and his colleague. Baykam was elected as a member of the IAA Executive Committee in Guadalajara, Mexico, just over a week before the attack. He was severely injured after the press conference held by the Turkish Artists Association on April 18th, in defense of the Monument to Humanity, an important sculpture by acclaimed sculptor Mehmet Aksoy, symbolizing peace and humanity. Prior to the attacks, IAA Europe called on Turkish authorities by sending letters to the Turkish Minister of Culture and the Turkish National Commission for UNESCO to use their political influence in Turkey. Despite these efforts, the situation has worsened, and escalated with the demolition of the statue and attack on Baykam.
Bedri Baykam is an excellent representative of Turkish artists and an important member of our international association. The 7th General Assembly of IAA Europe, in October 2010, approved his recommendation concerning cultural and political conflicts, and freedom of cultural expressions.
We expect the Turkish Government to secure the safety of our colleagues, and to actively prosecute those responsible for this horrendous act. We also call on the Turkish authorities to put an immediate end to the demolition of the sculpture, and to permit its restoration forthwith
On behalf of Executive Committee IAA Europe
Pavol Kráľ Christos Symeonides
Secretary of IAA Europe President of IAA Europe