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10 May, 2016 12:44

‘Delicious & juicy’ Erdogan burgers off the menu: Threats force German eatery to close

A restaurant in Cologne that was selling “delicious and juicy” Erdogan burgers, apparently named after the Turkish president, was forced to close over “credible threats” it had received, the eatery said.

The burgers had only been on sale in the Urban Burgery restaurant since April.

“Delicious, juicy, and the next big thing, is Erdogan the burger,” was the intriguing announcement on the restaurant’s Facebook page, “It [the burger, definitely not the Turkish leader] weighs more than any kebab.”

The “tasty and delicious” Erdogan burgers were served with goat cheese, the restaurant said, apparently referring to German TV satirist Jan Bohmermann’s poem implicating Recep Tayyip Erdogan in alleged sex acts with goats and a proclivity for child pornography. Erdogan and later German Chancellor Angela Merkel found the poem insulting. Bohmermann now faces prosecution under a rarely-used law that punishes those who insult foreign dignitaries.

The burger proved to be popular and the story was covered by local news. On May 1, it even had to close for the day as it had run out of the “delicious” offerings.

Shortly after the appetizing Erdogan burgers appeared on the eatery’s menu, the proprietors announced the closure of their restaurant “until further notice.”

"Due to concrete threats, and in particular calls by Erdogan supporters to come to our restaurant, we can no longer guarantee the safety of our workers," the restaurant said. It posted part of a threat on its Facebook page written by a person calling himself "Smith Wesson," (the name apparently referring to the US gun manufacturer): "I'd say we them pay a visit. Who'll join me?"

Jorg Tiemann, the manager of Urban Burgery, said that two Turkish burger cooks had given notice because they had received death threats, according to Deutsche Welle.

The eatery added it continues to oppose “blatant injustices” and no one will “silence civil rights.”

“We will not let ourselves be muzzled by enemies of democracy, rule of law and civil liberties....now more than ever!"

An example of “injustice” the restaurant referred to was the recent sentence of two journalists from Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper.

“Our concept is to combine politics and eating. We are fighting for human rights here in Germany and in other countries,” Tiemann later told RT.

He added that the diner had to strengthen security before re-opening.

In May, a Turkish court convicted Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper, and Erdem Gul, chief of the paper’s Ankara bureau, on charges of "revealing state secrets." They were sentenced to over five years in prison.

This is not the first time an organization or a person criticizing Erdogan has been persecuted.

On Monday, it emerged the Turkish president was planning to take legal action against a German media giant's CEO for backing the author of a notorious “defamatory” poem, which sparked a row over free speech.

In April, Ankara demanded the removal of a photo from an exhibition claiming Erdogan was directly involved in the murder of a child during anti-government protests in Turkey in 2013. “My name is Berkin Elvan. The police killed me, on the order of Turkey's prime minister,” says a caption under the photo of Elvan. Erdogan was prime minister at the time of the incident. However, authorities in Geneva rejected the Turkish request, citing freedom of speech.