Turkish newspaper's cook arrested for 'insulting Erdogan'

#TurkishPolitics

Cook, who works for pro-opposition newspaper, allegedly said he would not serve Erdogan cup of tea

Critics accuse Erdogan of severely eroding freedom of speech, especially after attempted 15 July coup (AFP)
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Last update: 
Tuesday 27 December 2016 10:14 UTC

A cook from a Turkish opposition newspaper is in custody, accused of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by allegedly saying he would not make tea for the country's leader.

Cumhuriyet, one of Turkey's few publications that takes a strong anti-Erdogan line, has repeatedly found itself targeted by the authorities. Ten of the newspaper's writers and executives were arrested last month.

The daily newspaper said on Monday that the head of its canteen, Senol Buran, was remanded in custody by the Istanbul criminal court after his detention on 24 December.

The incident in question occurred when Buran was on his way to work at Cumhuriyet's offices in central Istanbul, but found roads were closed as Erdogan was due to give a speech in the area.

"I would not serve that man a cup of tea," Buran is accused of angrily telling police officers. The newspaper said he denies insulting the president, merely saying that he would not serve the tea.

Cumhuriyet's former editor-in-chief Can Dundar fled to Germany earlier this year while appealing a prison term for revealing state secrets. He is now the target of a Turkish arrest warrant.

Critics accuse Erdogan of eroding freedom of speech, especially after the attempted 15 July coup against his rule.

Thousands of cases probing alleged insults against the president were opened before the coup, but were dropped as a gesture of national solidarity.

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