It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
BERLIN—Turkey formally requested that Germany investigate a television sketch that ridiculed the Turkish president, setting up a legal and diplomatic battle that pits relations between the two countries against Germany’s freedom-of-expression laws.
The Turkish government has expressed outrage over a poem recited by German comedy host Jan Böhmermann that made crude sexual jokes about President Tayyip Recep Erdogan. The spat comes at a critical time in German-Turkish relations, as Berlin is leaning on Mr. Erdogan to stem the flow of migrants and refugees who have been streaming for months through Turkey toward Germany.
Under German criminal code, offending a foreign leader is punishable by up to three years in prison. To convict someone, the court must find that the alleged offense meets the legal criteria of being defamatory. For a probe to proceed, a foreign state has to formally request an investigation and the German government must allow it to move forward. Mr. Seibert stressed that Ms. Merkel regarded freedom of expression and press as key elements of Germany’s constitution. “Freedom of expression, art and science is of course treasured by the chancellor and nonnegotiable at home and abroad,” he said.
That’s because German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that her government, while being fully committed to the principle of free speech, is considering a request from Turkey to file criminal charges against the host of a late-night television show on the state broadcaster, ZDF. His alleged crime? Joking about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s thin skin by reading examples of actual slanderous statements about him, in the form of a poem.