ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - A trustee appointed by the Turkish government to the municipality of the Kurdish town of Dogubayazit demolished a statue of the 17th-century Kurdish poet and philosopher Ahmadi Khani over the weekend.
Khani (1650- 1707), born in Hakkari, lived most of his life in Dogubayazit in today's Agri Province on the border with Iranian Kurdistan.
As one of the most influential literary figure in Kurdistan for centuries, he was the author of the first children's book in Kurdish, the Spring of Children (1683).
Dogubayazity's Municipality erected Khani's statue before its seizure by the government in January.
Police then arrested the town's elected mayor, Rohat Ozbay, as a part of a crackdown on local administrations aligned with the pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) who won in the 2014 local elections.
Khani is famously credited with being the first proponent of a sovereign Kurdish state in a modern sense, his books previously banned in Turkey.
In the classic love story of Mam and Zin (1692), Khani lamented the statelessness of the Kurds as well as their subjugation by the Turks of the Ottoman Empire and the Persians who were often fighting on historically Kurdish land.
Unelected Turkish officials' destruction of Khani's statue is the latest in a trend targeting Kurdish symbols.
Trustees in Kurdish-populated centers have destroyed several statues, notably one commemorating a 12-year-old child, Ugur Kaymaz, killed by police in 2004 in Mardin's Kiziltepe district and another, a monument in honor of the late Kurdish politician Orhan Dogan in Sirnak's Cizre.
In Diyarbakir, the governor in February ordered the dismantlement of a memorial for 34 civilians who were victims of a massacre committed by Turkish air force in 2011 in the village of Roboski on the border with the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
During his 2014 and 2015 election campaigning in Kurdish provinces, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan often uttered Khani's name, telling voters that the ministry of culture, for the first time in the Turkish Republic's history, published his books in Kurdish.
Editing by G.H. Renaud