Cook jailed for saying he wouldn′t serve tea to Erdogan | News | DW | 27.12.2016
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Cook jailed for saying he wouldn't serve tea to Erdogan

A man who runs the cafeteria of Turkish newspaper "Cumhuriyet" has been accused of insulting President Erdogan. If found guilty, he could face up to four years in prison.

A cook working at the cafeteria for the Turkish newspaper "Cumhuriyet" was arrested on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the paper reported in its Monday edition. Senol Buran allegedly used a derogatory term to describe Erdogan and said he "would not serve that man a cup of tea" and was overheard by a police officer at the newspaper's Istanbul office.

No tea for Erdogan

Buran admitted to saying that he would not serve the president tea, but he denied using an insult in reference to Erdogan. Whether the case against the "Cumhuriyet" cafeteria manager will go forward depends on whether the Justice Ministry approves the launch of a court case. If convicted, Buran could face up to four years in prison for insulting the president. The cook is being held in jail until his case is heard.

The newspaper is among the outlets most critical of the current administration in Turkey. International observers worry that freedom of speech is eroding under Erdogan, especially after a failed coup on July 15.

Ten employees arrested earlier this year

These are not the first criminal charges against "Cumhuriyet" employees. Less than two months ago, about a dozen Cumhuriyet staff members including editor Murat Sabuncu were arrestedon suspicion of crimes on behalf of Kurdish militants and Fethullah Gulen, the clergy accused of instigating the failed July coup. The former editor-in-chief of the paper, Can Dundar, is currently in exile in Germany because he faces criminal charges in Turkey for allegedly revealing state secrets.

The Interior Ministry said Saturday it is investigating 10,000 people suspected of terror-related activity on the internet or for posting comments on social media that insult government officials.

mb/sms (AFP, Reuters)