A restaurant in Cologne, Germany, selling a special burger named after Turkey’s President Erdoğan has closed because the owner could not guarantee his employees’ safety in the face of threats and intimidation.
Jörg Tiemann, manager of the ‘Urban Burgery’ restaurant, told the Bild newspaper he had to close his eatery after threats to “visit” his restaurant were posted to its Facebook page.
The danger stems from the special burger recently offered at Urban Burgery. The ‘Erdoğan Burger’ contained a large piece of goat’s cheese which was intended to reference the recent free speech controversy in Germany involving comedian Jan Böhmermann.
He recited a satirical poem about the thin-skinned Turkish leader on German public broadcaster ZDF on 31 March. In it he jokingly referred to President Erdoğan as a “goat-fucker”, resulting in German Chancellor Angel Merkel acquiescing to a request by Turkey to launch a criminal investigation into the incident.
After launching his novelty burger Mr. Tiemann endured a certain amount of verbal abuse, but told the newspaper that last Thursday “four muscular, dark-clad figures stood in front of the window, watching the store for 20 minutes.”
After that a message was posted to Facebook by someone using the name ‘Smith Wesson’ saying: “I’m in favour of a visit some time. Who is coming along?”
As a result Mr. Tiemann felt the need to take the precautionary measure of closing his restaurant for his staff’s safety. He said he plans to report the threat to police today, and to increase his own security systems on site, including the installation of a video surveillance system.
He will not, however, be closing his restaurant indefinitely.
Expressing solidarity with Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, the Turkish journalists controversially imprisoned last week for revealing state secrets involving the shipment of arms to rebels fighting the Syrian government, Mr. Tiemann told the newspaper:
“Enemies of democracy will not silence us.”