ISTANBUL – A statue erected in a Turkish city of an Ottoman prince taking a selfie with a cellphone has met swift and violent criticism.
Just days after it was erected, vandals -- perhaps offended by disparagement of Ottoman history -- have hacked off the phone and the prince's sword. The mayor's office in Amasya, an hour south of the Black Sea coast, said police have been ordered to guard the disarmed prince.
The statue, intended to attract tourists, has its defenders. As intended, 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 nearby 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 as governors 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 associated with the city were recently erected along a bridge and pathways in the city. Others include one of a fishermen and one of a couple from a Turkish legend set in Amasya, whose love was so great that the man dug through a mountain to reach his beloved only to find that she had died.
In a statement, the municipality said it has asked prosecutors to investigate the vandalism and to press charges against people who have supported the attack on social media, under laws against "praising a criminal act."