Turkey faced new accusations from Brussels of trying to muzzle the media on Wednesday after the government called for a satirical song about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to be deleted.
The tune, which lambasts Erdogan’s crackdown on civil liberties and lavish spending, was created by the German TV channel NDR for its satire show titled “Extra 3”.
On Tuesday, the Ankara government summoned Germany’s Ambassador to Turkey for a second time, to complain that it found the song offensive.
That led to a caustic response from an EU spokeswoman, on behalf of European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncke.
“President Juncker does not appreciate this move of calling in the German ambassador just because of a satirical song,” spokesperson Mina Andreeva told the media.
Suggesting that Ankara government’s response to the song had moved Turkey relationship further away rather than closer to the EU, she added: “While he (Juncker) appreciates our cooperation and our shared interest in tackling common challenges, this move does not seem to be in line with upholding the freedom of the press and freedom of expression which are values that the EU cherishes a lot as you know.’
Human rights groups regularly criticise Turkey’s record on press freedom, which regularly sees journalists jailed for criticising the government.
Earlier this month, the EU sealed a 6 billion euro deal with Turkey to try to stem an unprecedented flow of migrants to Europe.
As part of the pledge, Turkey was also promised that its EU accession ambitions would be looked at more favourably.
The German government, which was the driving force behind a deal, said on Wednesday it won’t compromise on media freedom.
At the time of publication, the song had been viewed nearly 3 million times on YouTube.