Mehmet Aksoy

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Mehmet Aksoy
Born 1939 (age 75–76)
Kesap, Yayladağı, Hatay Province, Turkey
Nationality Turkish
Education Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts, Hochschule der Künste in Berlin
Known for Sculpture
Notable work(s) Memorial to the Deserter, Germany
Statue of Humanity, Kars, Turkey

Mehmet Aksoy (b. 1939 in Hatay Province, Turkey)[1] is a Turkish sculptor.

Early life[edit]

He was born 1939 in Kesap, a town that is today within Syrian territories. After completing his primary education in Yayladağı in Hatay Province, Tarsus, Mersin and Antalya, he enrolled 1960 in Istanbul Academy of Fine ARts (today Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts) to study painting. Later, Aksoy switched over to sculpture section, where he was educated by Prof. Şadi Çalık between 1961-1967. Following his military service, he served at the same academy as an assistant in 1969-1970. He went in 1970 to London after having received a state-granted scholarship for further studies. Aksoy moved to Germany to study at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, from where he obtained a master's degree in 1977. He returned in 1978 to Turkey and served until 1980 as an instructor at his alma mater.

Career and works[edit]

Aksoy's Memorial to the Unknown Deserter (1989) stands in Unity Square, Potsdam.

Called the "Anatolian Michelangelo"[citation needed], Aksoy's public sculpture includes a massive marble "Memorial to the Deserter" in Germany in honor of those, who refuse to fight in unjust wars[citation needed]. The figure in this memorial is carved in negative relief, a technique that Aksoy employed in later work. His sculptures often contain sensual figurative elements, but he is strongly rooted in a modernist sensibility with strong conceptual and abstract elements in his work. He works primarily in stone but also incorporates other material, fusing metal or differing stones in a single sculpture. He presently resides and works in a studio of his own dramatic design on the outskirts of Istanbul.

In 2008, Aksoy began readying what he calls the "Statue of Humanity", a 30 m (98 ft) high monument dedicated to peace among Turks and Armenians. It was erected atop Kazıktepe Hill situated across from the ancient Castle of Kars. When completed, the monument would have been visible from neighboring Armenia.[1] Aksoy's efforts were encouraged by Kars Mayor Naif Alibeyoğlu, who seeks to reopen the Armenian-Turkish border, sealed since 1993. Aksoy said that "Turks and Armenians are sisters and brothers" and "it is time for both of us to open our hearts to each other and heal our traumas."[1] As of April 2011, the statue was being dismantled after Prime Minister Recep Erdogan called it a "freak." The demolition is controversial and opponents charge that political appeal to nationalists motivated Erdogan's fulmination. Aksoy has pledged to "re-make" the statue.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "Monument to symbolize peace, unity". Turkish Daily News. 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  2. ^ "Turkey-Armenia friendship symbol being demolished". BBC. 26 April 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 

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