Germany mulling Turkish demand to prosecute comic

Germany is considering a request from Turkey to prosecute a TV comedian who wrote a crude poem about the Turkish president.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert says Turkey sent a diplomatic note making “a formal request for criminal prosecution” of Jan Boehmermann.

German comedian Jan Böhmermann in Rostock, 2014. (Wikipedia/Jonas Rogowski/CC BY-SA 3.0)
German comedian Jan Böhmermann in Rostock, 2014. (Wikipedia/Jonas Rogowski/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Boehmermann read the poem on ZDF television two weeks ago to illustrate what he said wouldn’t be allowed in Germany, contrasting it with another channel’s satirical song that also poked fun at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

While the German government defended the song as legitimate free speech, it has strongly distanced itself from the poem.

Seibert told reporters on Monday that officials would take several days to decide whether to allow prosecutors to proceed in the case, but stressed Chancellor Angela Merkel holds free speech in high regard.

— AP

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