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German city removes Erdogan statue over security concerns

In this Aug. 28, 2018 photo, a fire brigade crane lifts a statue of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Wiesbaden, western Germany. (Sebastian Stenzel/ via AP)

BERLIN (AP) -- A golden statue of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that was installed at an art festival whose motto is "Bad news" has been taken down after authorities in the German city of Wiesbaden said it was becoming a security issue.

The dpa news agency reported that the four-meter (13-foot) sculpture depicting Erdogan with a raised right arm, evoking the statue of Saddam Hussein toppled by American forces in Iraq, was removed early Wednesday.

Since it was put up Monday, authorities said it had become a magnet for pro- and anti-Erdogan speeches and provoked conflict.

Wiesbaden State Theater director Uwe Eric Laufenberg defended that debate as being the installation's purpose, saying "we displayed the statue in order to discuss Erdogan."

He said "in a democracy, one must tolerate all opinions."

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