Vandals attack selfie-taking Ottoman prince statue

AP News
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Posted: May 12, 2015 11:35 AM
Vandals attack selfie-taking Ottoman prince statue

ISTANBUL (AP) — A statue erected in a Turkish city of an Ottoman prince taking a selfie with a cellphone has been vandalized amid strong criticism of the artwork.

Just days after it was erected, someone — perhaps offended by disparagement of Ottoman history — hacked off the phone and the prince's sword. The mayor's office in Amasya, a city an hour south of Turkey's Black Sea coast, said police have been ordered to guard the disarmed prince.

The statue, intended to attract tourists, has its defenders, and some people have been mugging for their own selfies with the eccentric prince.

"It is certainly very beautiful," the Hurriyet Daily News newspaper quoted Dilek Tuna, a visitor from the central Turkish province of Corum, as saying. "It's different." 

The prince reflects part of Amasya's history.  In Ottoman times, Amasya was a prosperous town where princes, or Shahzade, were sent to prepare them to rule the empire.  Some of them became Sultans, including Mehmet II, or Mehmet the Conqueror, who conquered Constantinople — now Istanbul — in 1453.

The city says four statues linked to Amasya were recently erected along a bridge and city pathways. They include one of a fishermen and another from a Turkish legend set in Amasya of a couple whose love was so great that the man dug through a mountain to reach his beloved only to find that she had died. 

The city said it has asked prosecutors to investigate the vandalism and to also press charges against those who supported the attack on social media under laws against praising a criminal act.

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Suzan Fraser in Ankara contributed to this report.

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