Sunday 25 September 2016

Turkey summons German ambassador over satirical Recep Tayyip Erdogan video

Published 29/03/2016 | 13:01

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a meeting in Istanbul (AP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a meeting in Istanbul (AP)

The German ambassador to Turkey has been summoned to its foreign ministry over the broadcast by German television of a song that makes fun of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Turkey condemned the satirical video to Ambassador Martin Erdmann during a meeting last week and demanded that the public broadcaster that aired it on March 17 cease showing it, according to a ministry official.

The German-language song, which can still be seen on broadcaster ARD's website and on social media, alludes among other things to the imprisonment of opposition journalists, authorities' heavy-handed response to protesters and allegations that Turkey prefers to take action against Kurdish rebels rather than the Islamic State group. It features a clip of Mr Erdogan falling off a horse.

Its lyrics include the line: "A journalist who writes something that doesn't suit Erdogan will be in the slammer tomorrow."

The German Federation of Journalists' chairman, Frank Ueberall, said that Mr Erdogan "apparently has lost his grip".

He added in a statement that the president's indignation is "laughable" but said people should not overlook the fact that "the persecution of critical journalists is bitter reality in Turkey".

Mr Erdogan is known to be highly intolerant of criticism. More than 1,800 cases have been opened against people accused of insulting him since he came to office in 2014, under a previously seldom-used law that bars insults to the president. Those who have gone on trial include celebrities, journalists and even schoolchildren.

The Turkish official also said that Turkey is summoning a number of foreign envoys to the ministry to formally protest a group of diplomats who last week attended the trial of two opposition journalists.

Mr Erdogan severely criticised the diplomats - including one who posted selfies from the courthouse - accusing them of violating their boundaries and siding with those he said wanted to carry out a "coup" against the government.

Press Association

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