Turkish immigrant opens restaurant in Bessemer City

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Master Chef Mastafa Erdem, owner Mastafa Kocaman and Askarbek Akhrorov pose together inside Mustafa’s Place on West Virginia Avenue in Bessemer City.

It has been eight years since Mustafa Kocaman last saw his wife and son.

Kocaman, 50, was an activist in his native country, Turkey, part of a community called Hizmet that has resisted the rule of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been in office since 2014. 

“Only my group didn’t obey him. He said, ‘If you don’t obey me, I will take everything from you,'” Kocaman said. “He put my wife in jail. I escaped. I came here.” 

Kocaman, who formerly worked in education, recently opened Mustafa’s Place, a restaurant in Bessemer City. 

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