Merkel accepts Turkish request for prosecution of comedian over Erdoğan poem

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has accepted a request from Turkey to seek the prosecution of comedian for reading out an offensive poem about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on a German television.

“There were different opinions between the coalition partners – the conservatives and the SPD (Social Democrats),” Merkel was quoted as telling reporters in Berlin on Friday.

“The outcome is that the German government will give the authorization in the current case,” she added, stressing that this was not a decision about the merits of the prosecution’s case against Böhmermann.

The Turkish government earlier issued a diplomatic note, asking the German Foreign Ministry to put Boehmermann, a comedian and a presenter on the ZDF public broadcaster in Germany, on trial on charges of “insulting a representative of a foreign state.”

During his weekly show Neo Magazin Royal, Böhmermann read a poem which made crude sexual jokes about Turkey’s president.
A Mainz prosecutor last week said the office had received some 20 complaints from “private individuals” about Böhmermann’s poem, automatically triggering the opening of preliminary proceedings.

Merkel earlier criticized Böhmermann’s satirical poem and Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said the chancellor and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu agreed in a phone call last week that the text of the poem was “deliberately offensive.”

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