A well-known satirist on German TV aired a show recently where he read an obscene poem, insulting Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leading Chancellor Angela Merkel to apologize.
Turkey is furious after German TV presenter and comedian Jan Böhmermann aired an obscene poem about Erdogan, causing the necessity for Merkel to apologize at a time when she is working to build relations between Germany and Turkey over the EU migrant crisis.
Böhmermann has reportedly caused outrage in the past on his satirical show, Neo Magazin Royale, on the German public ZDF TV channel. Last month, he was in trouble after producing a comedy sketch which insulted British culture and referred to Queen Elizabeth II as being “horse-faced.”
As reported by RT News, the latest show saw Böhmermann reciting a satiric poem, this time insulting President Erdogan, calling him, among other insults, “incredibly dumb, cowardly and repressed” and speaking graphically of sex acts and other graphic statements about Turkey’s president.
However, after the show aired, the ZDF TV station received many complaints, leading them to take down all online editions of the show and leading police to investigate a number of complaints against the comedian himself.
Turkey is furious about this BANNED German poem…which Merkel had to APOLOGISE for https://t.co/C0LNLYjjSg
— End of Europe (@End_of_Europe) April 9, 2016
As reported by Deutsche Welle, what drew the comedian to perform the poem was a song played on another German channel, NDR, some weeks before which spoke of Erdogan and his attack on journalists and freedom of speech in Turkey. That song caused high-level diplomatic criticism and Turkey called in Germany’s envoy to demand an explanation.
Reportedly Böhmermann was so angry that Erdogan was now affecting free speech in Germany he then felt compelled to write the poem as retribution. What makes it even more provocative is the fact that the video was broadcast with Turkish subtitles.
The show started with Böhmermann, 35, seated at a desk displaying a Turkish flag and a portrait of Erdogan. He starts by speaking of Erdogan’s crackdown on freedom of speech and journalists in Turkey.
As if he were speaking direct to Erdogan, Böhmermann went on to explain that the song broadcast on NDR fell under the right to artistic freedom, freedom of the press, and freedom of opinion.
Telling Turkey’s president “you’re not allowed to do this,” he then went on to thoroughly insult the president of Turkey using obscene language in poetic form.
Among the milder insults, Böhmermann tells the Turkish leader that he is “incredibly dumb, cowardly and repressed,” that his “breath smells wretched just like Doner,” adding that “even pig farts smell better.” The insults went downhill from there and contained, among other things, suggestions of bestiality, racism, and porn.
— dwnews (@dwnews) April 7, 2016
According to a senior public prosecutor, Gerd Deutschler, due to the many complaints received since the show was aired, Böhmermann is now being investigated on suspicion of the crime of “offending foreign states’ organs and representatives.”
While Deutschler said the nationality of the complainants is not known, the crime carries a maximum punishment of three years imprisonment, but he did say it was still unclear whether the punishment would apply in the current case.
After the complaints were received, ZDF removed the video from its website, stating the poem does not meet the required standards expected of the broadcaster’s satire shows. Reportedly, Böhmermann himself made it clear on the show that he was courting controversy by reading the poem.
With Merkel spearheading EU efforts to secure Turkey’s help with the current migrant crisis, this made things extremely awkward. In a telephone conversation with the Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutogou, she apologized and went on to explain that the poem had been “deliberately offensive.”
The Express has reproduced the full poem in English on their website, but it can also be read with English subtitles in the video of the show included on their article. However, viewers are warned that the poem contains extremely distasteful and obscene wording.
[Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images]