Turkey arrests bakers’ union head for calling bread-eating societies ‘stupid’

Turkey sentenced a bakery union head to prison on Wednesday for “publicly offending the Turkish nation”, state media said, because of his explanation that the nation’s long-standing passion for bread had led it to repeatedly elect President Tayyip Erdogan’s regimes.

Cihan Kolivar, Chairman of the Union for Bread Producers, cited Haberturk on Monday as he spoke about bread prices rising and Turkey’s soaring inflation.

“Bread is the staple food for stupid societies. I speak scientifically, I am not making it up – per capita consumption is 210 kilos in Turkey; and 45-50 kilos in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, England, Japan,” Kolivar said.

Anadolu reported that the Istanbul court on Wednesday remanded him in custody pending trial, citing freedom of speech. Turkey is frequently blasted by human rights organisations and Western nations for restricting speech.

Erdogan’s unorthodox monetary policies are blamed for Turkey’s economic woes, which he says are aimed at boosting exports, investment, and employment.

The lira’s decline last year prompted inflation to soar to a 24-year high of 85.5% in October, which has continued to rise this year.

According to Omer Celik, spokesperson for Erdogan’s AK Party, Kolivar’s remarks were in breach of Turkey’s anti-discrimination law.

Image Credit: AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici