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

Image: Getty.

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. 

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 IS SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS GAZEBO:

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.

Yep. 

 

 

Our vote is with the Brontosaurus. 

Images: Ankarapark.

 
 
 
 

There isn’t a war on the motorist. We should start one

These bloody people. Image: Getty.

When should you use the horn on a car? It’s not, and anyone who has been on a road in the UK in living memory will be surprised to hear this, when you are inconvenienced by traffic flow. Nor is it when you are annoyed that you have been very slightly inconvenienced by another driver refusing to break the law in a manner that is objectively dangerous, but which you perceive to be to your advantage.

According to the Highway Code:

“A horn should only be used when warning someone of any danger due to another vehicle or any other kind of danger.”

Let’s be frank: neither you nor I nor anyone we have ever met has ever heard a horn used in such a manner. Even those of us who live in or near places where horns perpetually ring out due to the entitled sociopathy of most drivers. Especially those of us who live in or near such places.

Several roads I frequently find myself pushing a pram up and down in north London are two way traffic, but allow parking on both sides. This being London that means that, in practice, they’re single track road which cars can enter from both ends.

And this being London that means, in practice, that on multiple occasions every day, men – it is literally always men – glower at each other from behind the steering wheels of needlessly big cars, banging their horns in fury that circumstances have, usually through the fault of neither of them, meant they are facing each other on a de facto single track road and now one of them is going to have to reverse for a metre or so.

This, of course, is an unacceptable surrender as far as the drivers’ ego is concerned, and a stalemate seemingly as protracted as the cold war and certainly nosier usually emerges. Occasionally someone will climb out of their beloved vehicle and shout and their opponent in person, which at least has the advantages of being quieter.

I mentioned all this to a friend recently, who suggested that maybe use of car horns should be formally restricted in certain circumstances.

Ha ha ha. Hah.

The Highway Code goes on to say -

“It is illegal to use a horn on a moving vehicle on a restricted road, a road that has street lights and a 30 mph limit, between the times of 11:30 p.m. and 07:00 a.m.”

Is there any UK legal provision more absolutely and comprehensively ignored by those to whom it applies? It might as well not be there. And you can bet that every single person who flouts it considers themselves law abiding. Rather than the perpetual criminal that they in point of fact are.


In the 25 years since I learned to drive I have used a car horn exactly no times, despite having lived in London for more than 20 of them. This is because I have never had occasion to use it appropriately. Neither has anyone else, of course, they’ve just used it inappropriately. Repeatedly.

So here’s my proposal for massively improving all UK  suburban and urban environments at a stroke: ban horns in all new cars and introduce massive, punitive, crippling, life-destroying fines for people caught using them on their old one.

There has never been a war on motorists, despite the persecution fantasies of the kind of middle aged man who thinks owning a book by Jeremy Clarkson is a substitute for a personality. There should be. Let’s start one. Now.

Phase 2 will be mandatory life sentences for people who don’t understand that a green traffic light doesn’t automatically mean you have right of way just because you’re in a car.

Do write in with your suggestions for Phase 3.