Turkish TV contestant detained for torturing parrot
A controversial TV personality has been detained in Istanbul over footage in which he was seen torturing a parrot.
Murat Özdemir, who had competed in the Turkish version of Masterchef, was detained late Dec. 17 after police raided his home in the Beşiktaş neighborhood late Dec. 17.
The police raid followed hundreds of complaints on social media after Özdemir shared a video showing him mistreating his parrot.
As animal rights activists staged a protest in front of his home, Özdemir was taken to a Beşiktaş police station and the parrot was seized by authorities.
“I watched the video with deep regret. It caused a public outrage and shook our conscience. I have instructed to file a criminal complaint on behalf of the ministry against this person,” Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said in a tweet.
Animal rights activist and singer Ömür Gedik told journalists in front of the Beşiktaş police station that Özdemir should be arrested.
“Such a person should not be able to walk free. It is clear that he is not sane,” she said.
Police released Özdemir on Dec. 18 after he testified over the incident, but he was detained again after a prosecutor issued a new warrant.
Özdemir was later sent to a hospital for medical checks on his mental health.
The parrot, named Mesut Bahtiyar, "is fine and under treatment," animal rights activists said on social media.
Known for his erratic behavior, Özdemir had become the first ever contestant who was disqualified from MasterChef.