Turkish bakers' union head arrested after calling bread-eating societies 'stupid'
Union for Bread Producers Chair Cihan Kolivar has been arrested after saying "Bread is the staple food for stupid societies. Since our society eats their fill with bread, such rulers have been ruling it for 20 years."
Turkey jailed a bakery union head for "publicly insulting the Turkish nation" on Nov. 9, state media reported, after he said society's "stupid" fondness for bread explained why it had elected President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's governments for two decades.
Union for Bread Producers Chair Cihan Kolivar made the comments to broadcaster Haberturk on Monday as he spoke about the rising price of bread 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.
"Since our society eats their fill with bread, such rulers have been ruling it for 20 years."
Ekmek aptal toplumların temel gıda maddesidir. Ekmeği temel gıda maddesi saymıyorum.— ibrahim Haskoloğlu (@haskologlu) November 7, 2022
Bizim toplum ekmek ile doyduğu için böyle 20 sene başında yöneticiler duruyor.
— Ekmek Üreticileri Sendikası Başkanı Cihan Kolivar
An Istanbul court on Wednesday remanded him in custody pending trial, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported. Turkey is widely criticised by rights groups and Western allies for limiting freedom of speech.
Critics blame Turkey's economic ills on Erdoğan's unorthodox monetary policies, which he says are aimed at boosting exports, investment and jobs.
Inflation in October climbed to a 24-year high of 85.5%, having started to surge last year as the lira slumped after the central bank began cutting rates as sought by Erdoğan.
Erdoğan's ruling AK Party spokesperson Ömer Çelik said Kolivar's remarks constituted hate speech.
"In addition to insulting our nation and bread, this person's statements show that he is an element of the politics of hostility, the politics of hatred," Çelik said.