Turkey’s president has filed a formal complaint against a German comedian in a case which could test the limits of free speech. Prosecutors in Mainz confirmed they had received the complaint on Monday.
Erdogan has called for the prosecution of Jan Böhmermann for performing a satirical poem on the German TV channel ZDF, the content of which implies the president engages in sexual relations with animals among other offences.
A translation of the programme can be found “here:https://www.reddit.com/r/europe/comments/4ebe9p/what_b%C3%B6hmermann_said_english_translation/”
It came after another satirical show Extra 3 broadcast a song accusing Erodgan of crackdowns on protests and press freedoms. Ankara called for the broadcast to be taken offline and never be broadcast again. In response, Jan Böhmermann used his show Neo Magazin Royale to read out the ‘libellous poem’ in order to talk about what was and was not legal in Germany.
Insulting a foreign head of state is illegal in Germany, and Bohmermann could face jail time if found guilty. However, the case has divided opinion with media analysts arguing it should be considered satire.
Chancellor Merkel risks upsetting her voters should she allow proceedings to go ahead, but equally risks jeopardising relations with Ankara at a delicate time for EU-Turkey relations.
She said that the government is carefully checking the note from Turkey and will finish in the coming days. She added that Germany has freedom of opinion and artistic expression.