Today the German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed that there will be a criminal inquiry about a comedy. “Let the prosecutors and courts decide this case, not the Federal Government”, she argued. “Turkey is a long-time friend and NATO partner, but has to respect the freedom of the press as well.”
She will visit Turkey and meet Erdogan next week and needs to talk about this as well. Merkel needs Erdogan to stop the flow of refugees- a delicate situation for her.
A bitter poem by comedian Jan Boehmermann, aired on German publicly funded television ZDF, produced a diplomatic crisis between Germany and Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was insulted by a impertinent text, which makes extreme crude sexual references. Including sex with animals and watching porn videos with children, having a small penis, or he stinks like a pig – see all details in the scandalous video below.
When a comedian is not intelligent or smart enough, too burned-out to design fresh new good comedy, he produces either sex-related jokes or brutal insults. It has been a very primitive way to earn attention and money for a long time. It shows his low quality and a lack of know how and real, deep and good humor.
Mr Erdogan has filed a legal complaint. Now such a comedian, Jan Boehmermann, could be prosecuted under German law for insulting a foreign head of state. Most probably the public prosecutor will resolve this delicate case with a fine of € 5,000-10,000 in some weeks as a minor offense.
Just a month ago a song came out mocking the Turkish leader, and he was not happy about it. This was good political satire and not offending the president personally. But Erdogan formally complained with the German Ambassador to Turkey. This caused a serious row between Germany and Turkey at a very difficult time.
Germany wants to defend free speech. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has come out in support of free speech saying:
“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”.
This could not have come at a worse time, as Germany needs Turkey’s support to stop the flow of refugees into Europe.
Comedian Jan Böhmermann read his primitive and aggressive satirical poem on the air, that was outright slanderous. Everybody would be insulted being labeled as a perverse sex monster on TV.
As the anchor says in the video, what he is saying is illegal, even in Germany. Germany has a law that criminalizes insulting foreign heads of state. This is punishable by up to two years in prison.
After Mr. Erdogan had filed a criminal complaint, the matter is now under formal investigation. The question is whether this should be counted as satire or as slander, as this will be the distinction on whether or not charges are pressed.
The presenter Jan Böhmermann, has always been a controversial figure, pushing the limit of what is acceptable to say on television or was just burned out with ideas. He asserts that this is protected speech, but that up for debate now. He has even been given police protection as a precaution.
The discussion is how far free speech can go in Germany.
But Merkel is in a tight spot, as if she follows the law and urges prosecutors to enforce the law, she will be seen as a puppet of the Turkish leader. If she does not follow the law and protects freedom of speech, she may lose an very important strategic ally in the refugee crisis.
Ms Merkel has given the go ahead to the prosecutors to prosecute, so now it is up to the prosecutors whether or not to charge Mr. Böhmermann.
Now prosecutors and maybe later judges will rule soon.
The German chancellor declared today to get rid of the obscure old and little-used rule against insults of foreign heads of state in Article 103 of the German penal code (Strafgesetzbuch) by 2018.
Article 185 of the penal code forbids insults against private persons.
Erdogan’s lawyer is using both regulations.
Naive Böhmermann has done Erdogan a big political favor indeed.
- First most Turkish are now pushed into solidarity with the sultan from Ankara. So the opposition is weakened and Erdogan gets stronger.
- Second, the President can now more easy argue, that critics are just insulting him or the proud Turks.
- At the end Böhmermann stabbed a knife into the back of the true opposition and other journalists in Turkey and
- has as well caused an affair which is damaging the people in Turkey and Germany in a time of a severe refugee crisis
- He weakened the position of the German Chancellor in any discussion about human rights in Turkey.
Just because he has not worked hard enough for good humor, but needed primitive hardcore insulting to fill his time on air.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Foundation by Jonas Rogowski. CC License.