Germans to eat 'Erdogan-Burgers' again despite threats

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Erdogan-BurgersImage source, EPA
Image caption,
The Cologne "Erdogan-Burgers" feature a big chunk of goat's cheese

The German manager of a burger bar in Cologne will start selling "Erdogan-Burgers" again, despite closing for three days because of threats, he told the BBC.

Joerg Tiemann said his Urban Burgery sold the burgers garnished with goat's cheese as a "satirical answer" to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He has now installed security cameras.

Mr Erdogan reacted angrily when a German comic poked fun at him in a poem referring to sex with goats and sheep.

Jan Boehmermann was given police protection after reading his obscene poem on German TV.

The Turkish president filed a criminal complaint against the comic, in a case that prompted a heated debate in Germany over freedom of speech.

German prosecutors are investigating whether he broke a law against insulting foreign leaders.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Joerg Tiemann says he is acting in solidarity with journalists jailed in Turkey
Image source, EPA
Image caption,
The restaurant's flyers offer students a 25% discount

The Urban Burgery was reopening on Wednesday, Mr Tiemann told the BBC. Its Erdogan-Burgers were by far the most popular item on the menu, accounting for 75% of the outlet's turnover, he added.

He described it as "a classic hamburger, meat or vegetarian, with a thick slice of goat's cheese".

"We'll sell it for as long as people want it or until Erdogan ends his policy," he said.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The Turkish president has been quick to react to perceived insults

When asked about the Boehmermann case, Mr Tiemann said his own protest was more a mark of solidarity with two Turkish journalists at the daily Cumhuriyet, who were jailed on 6 May.

Erdem Gul received five years and Can Dundar five years and 10 months, after Cumhuriyet reported that Turkey had tried to ship arms to rebels fighting the Syrian government.

Grey Wolves

Mr Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AK Party government has drawn international criticism for cracking down on dissent. Turkey has backtracked on freedom of speech and judicial independence, EU officials and human rights activists say.

Mr Tiemann said the threats targeting the Urban Burgery were "mostly commentaries on Facebook - people threatened to send the Grey Wolves to our restaurant".

The Grey Wolves are a Turkish nationalist group dating back to the 1960s, accused of multiple murders of leftists and liberals.

Mr Tiemann said German national security agents had visited the Urban Burgery on Tuesday, and he now had eight 24-hour surveillance cameras.

Three Turkish workers left his business after the threats were made, he told the BBC, but "friends helped out" with that staffing problem.

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