Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday (14 April) that Germany has accepted a request from Turkey to seek the prosecution of a German comedian who read out a sexually crude poem about Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan on German television.
Under a section of Germany’s criminal code, the government has to authorise prosecutors to pursue a case against the comedian, Jan Böhmermann, who is accused of insulting a foreign
“There were different opinions between the coalition partners – the conservatives and the SPD (Social Democrats),” Merkel told reporters at the Chancellery in Berlin.
“The outcome is that the German government will give the authorisation in the current case,” she added, stressing that this was not a decision about the merits of the prosecution’s case against Böhmermann.
Merkel has previously called Böhmermann’s poem “deliberately insulting”.
Erdoğan issued a formal complaint against Böhmermann over a poem the comedian recited on air that accued the Turkish president of paedophilia and bestiality.
Böhmermann has previously made international news for his satires, including one video in March 2015 that showed a doctored clip of former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis showing a middle finger.
But after Erdoğan filed a complaint against Böhmermann, Varoufakis came to the comedian’s defense in a tweet on 11 April.
Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday spoke about the importance of free speech as Berlin weighs a Turkish request to prosecute a German TV satirist who crudely insulted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.