Apr 13 2016
GERMANY: Will Chancellor Angela Merkel cave in to Turkish demands to prosecute comedian for creating a satirical video insulting the Turkish president?
The Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has submitted a personal complaint against a German comedian for libel. This could land the humorist, already under investigation over attacking foreign representatives, in more trouble.
RT Recep Tayyip Erdogan has submitted a criminal complaint against comedian TV host Jan Böhmermann, author of a satirical poem about the Turkish president, aired in Böhmermann’s ZDF Neo Royale program on March 31. A corresponding diplomatic note had been sent to the German authorities, a spokesman for Erdogan said in Ankara on Monday.
The poem, which contains rough sexual references, accuses Erdogan of repressing Turkey’s national and religious minorities: Kurds and Christians. Before starting the recital, Böhmermann recalled another recent scandal between Berlin and Ankara, sparked after Germany’s NDR TV channel aired a musical video mocking Erdogan’s ambitions and authoritarian treatment of journalists.
The 35-year-old comedian claims that he used offensive formulations intentionally, to differentiate from that music video. While the NDR video falls under the protective cloak of the right to artistic freedom, press freedom and freedom of opinion, Böhmermann dubbed his poem an act of “abusive criticism,” Reuters reports.
The satirical video in question:
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş claimed on Monday that Böhmermann’s poem had insulted all 78 million Turks, even going so far as to label it a “serious crime against humanity” that exceeds “all limits of shamelessness.”
Commenting on the complaint filed by the Turkish president against the German comedian, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that finding a solution to the migrant crisis with Turkey’s help and limiting artistic freedom within Germany are two different things.
“I want to stress again what was stressed yesterday – we have the fundamental values in the constitution and that includes Article 5, which is the freedom of opinion, freedom of science and of course the freedom of art,” she said.