1. Governance
April 17, 2015

Ankara's mayor is being sued for building a giant robot

By Barbara Speed

It’s tough, being a mayor. No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try to please your citizens, they’ll find a way to pick holes in your plans. 

Take Melih Gökçek, mayor of the Turkish capital Ankara. His level-headed, money-minded decision to build a cool statue of a robot on a busy intersection has attracted nothing but derision, and now the country’s Chamber of Architects and Engineers are actually suing him. The ingratitude. 

According to local media reports, the Chamber called the 20-foot statue a “monstrosity” and filed a lawsuit against Gökçek earlier this month for wasting taxpayers’ money. The head of the Ankara branch, Tezcan Karakuş Candan, went so far as to call it a “freak statue”.

In response to the attacks Gökçek made a single, short statement: “Respect the robot.” 

The robot looks out over his hostile kingdom. Image: Getty.

Particularly enraging to Gökçek’s detractors is presumably the fact that 20 more robot statues are planned for the Ankapark amusement park (which the mayor has called his “prestige project”), though it’s unclear whether these will be publicly funded or not. 

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While we can admit that it’s possible Gökçek was a little irresponsible with his spending, we can’t help but feel a bit sorry for him. After all, he does seem super excited about his new park. 

Here he is, feeling excited about some trees:


He’s made some new friends:

And this robot just makes him really happy:

Please don’t take his park away from him. 


Update 17.4:

Gökçek has now apparently taken to his Twitter feed (also notable for its liberal use of caps and emojis) to ask residents to vote for the dinosaur they would like to replace the robot.




Our vote is with the Brontosaurus. 

Images: Ankarapark.

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