Erdogan sent food taster to Italian president's kitchen

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent a “chief food taster” to the kitchen during a visit to the Italian president’s palace, prompting comparisons between Erdoğan and an Ottoman Sultan, a column in Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper reports.

According to NIlgun Cerrahoglu, a columnist Cumhuriyet, Italian President Sergio Mattarella's food chef assured Erdogan's chief taster that the kitchen was "very good. Plus it's healthy and safe."

The Italian newspaper Repubblica described the Turkish president's arrival in Italy, alongside an entourage of 150 people, as being reminiscent of a sultan. “And just like a Sultan he tried to get his chief taster into Mattarella's kitchen. This report indicates that a Middle East autocrat has just arrived Rome," continued the newspaper.

Until last December, the Turkish president had not spoken to Pope Francis for two years since the Pope's announcement recognising the Armenian Genocide. However, the Turkish president called the Pope twice in December to discuss the status of Jerusalem, ignoring altogether the Armenian issue. 

During these talks, according to the Italian newspaper, Erdogan asked the Pope to see him in person. After securing an appointment with the Pope, Italian government leaders could not refuse to meet with the Turkish president.