Germany Says Examining Turkish Request to Prosecute Satirist

Reuters, April 11, 2016

Germany said on Monday it was examining a formal request made by Turkey for it to prosecute a comedian who recited an obscene poem about Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in a satirical show on national television.

German prosecutors have already begun investigating Jan Boehmermann, the iconoclastic host of the late-night “Neo Magazin Royale” on the public channel ZDF, on suspicion of the crime of “offending foreign states’ organs and representatives”.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said the Turkish embassy had sent Germany’s foreign ministry a cable with “a formal request from the Turkish side for a prosecution in connection with comments made in this broadcast.”

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Boehmermann, who has made a name for himself by pushing the boundaries of satire in a once-staid media landscape, made clear on the show that he was courting controversy.

Before reading his poem, Boehmermann referred to a satirical song broadcast on NDR television that had mocked Erdogan for his authoritarian treatment of journalists. That led Turkey to call in Germany’s envoy to provide an explanation, although Germany rejected Turkish protests.

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