Et tu Germany? Comedian faces prosecution for mocking Erdogan
Comedian Jan Bohmermann found himself in a little bit more trouble than he expected when he went about testing the boundaries of free speech in Germany.
In a television broadcast the German comedian infringed on both an almost forgotten German law prohibiting the insult of foreign heads of states as well as the very thin skin of the Turkish president.
Boehmermann's crude poem was broadcast two weeks ago in a segment of a comedy show on ZDF television called Erdogan "stupid, cowardly and uptight" before descending into crude sexual accusations, including paedophilia.
The comedian however said he was reading the poem as an illustration of the precise kinds of speech that would not be allowed in Germany.
|The segment came in response to Turkish government protests at an earlier German satirical song which also mocked Erdogan.|
The segment came in response to Turkish government protests at an earlier German satirical song which also mocked Erdogan.
But if Boehermann expected the German government to defend him under the principle of freedom of free speech, as the government did for the writers of the earlier song, he was sorely surprised.
In reference to a 1953 law, which itself originated in a 19th century law forbidding the insulting of foreign monarchs, the German government acted on a complaint by Turkey against Boehmermann and signalled the green-light for his prosecution.
Turkish President Erdogan became well-known for his efforts to prosecute any within Turkey accused of "insulting the president" and the Turkish government has simultaneously launched a separate complaint against Boehmermann based on "slander."
Wary that Merkel's support for the prosecution arose from a desire to ensure Turkish cooperation in fulfilling the EU-Turkey migrant deal, a number of German politicians railed against the decision.
It was on social media however that Merkel's decision was met with fury and condemnation.