The Turkish foreign ministry has summoned Germany’s ambassador to Ankara to explain a satirical song broadcast on a German TV earlier this month entitled “Erdowi, Erdowo, Erdogan” that poked fun at the country’s president, according to the Financial Times.
The song, which aired on Germany’s ARD television channel on March 17, satirically criticizes Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for its crackdown on the press and Turkey’s Kurdish minority, and slams the recent deal that saw Ankara agree to accept migrants sent back from the EU in exchange for more than €6bn in aid. It also compares Erdogan with Mickey Mouse, and shows the president trying to ride a horse and falling off.
The song, which was included in a satirical program called extra 3, also features images of the massive presidential palace Erdoğan had built in Ankara. “He lives the high life, the boss from the Bosphorus,” the song says.
The Financial Times also quoted sources close to the German foreign ministry as saying that German Ambassador Martin Erdmann told Turkish officials that “the rule of law, judicial independence and the protection of fundamental freedoms, including freedom of the press, are important values which together must be protected” during the conversation.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency also confirmed in a report on Tuesday that the German ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry over the song.
Erdoğan is already pressing charges against his critics at home.
It has almost become a daily occurrence for Erdoğan and Justice and Development Party (AK Party) officials to sue journalists either for their reports or simply because of tweets they dislike. Many journalists are facing terrorism charges or charges related to the alleged insulting of state officials.
Hundreds of people have recently been charged and some detained after being accused of insulting Erdoğan since he was elected president in August 2014. Anti-government journalists and public figures in particular have been targeted by the police and prosecutors on the grounds that they have insulted Erdoğan. These developments are widely considered a new method of intimidating political opponents who do not share the government’s views.
Dozens of people, including journalists Cengiz Çandar, Ahmet Altan, Sedef Kabaş, Hidayet Karaca and Mehmet Baransu, high school students, activists and even Merve Büyüksaraç — a former Miss Turkey, have been prosecuted for insulting Erdoğan on social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
The law that makes insulting the president a criminal offense has become a method of intimidation against people who are vocal in their criticism of Erdoğan.