Germany, EU reject Turkish protest over Erdogan clip

Both Germany and the European Union on Wednesday rejected protests by Turkey over a satirical German television show that mocked President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Reuters reports.

Turkey's foreign ministry had summoned Germany's envoy to explain an NDR broadcast including a two-minute song that poked fun at Erdogan.

The clip, entitled "Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan", ridiculed the president, his alleged extravagant spending and crackdown on civil liberties.

The song is set to the tune of German pop star Nena's 1984 love song "Irgendwie, Irgendwo, Irgendwann". The lyrics charge, among other things, that "a journalist who writes something that Erdogan doesn't like/ Is tomorrow already in jail".

A spokeswoman for Germany's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that Berlin had made clear to Ankara that basic freedoms were "non-negotiable".

"(It has been) made clear that despite all the interests Germany and Turkey share, the view on press freedom, freedom of expression is non-negotiable for us," she said, according to Reuters, while adding that Turkey was an important partner.

"We are cooperating with Turkey on various issues, not just the migrant issue but also on Syria," she stressed.

The EU was more forthright in its criticism, saying that summoning the German envoy did not seem to be in line with the EU's cherished freedoms of the press and of expression.

"(European Commission President Jean-Claude) Juncker believes this moves Turkey further (away) from the EU rather than closer to us," said a spokeswoman quoted by Reuters. She added that the EU expected Turkey to uphold the highest standards on democracy, rule of law and freedoms.

France's foreign ministry said freedom of expression was a fundamental tenet of democracy and "even more so for a member of the Council of Europe and a candidate for the European Union."

Erdogan is notorious for muzzling media that is critical of him as well as lawmakers, academics, lawyers and NGOs – but he usually does this in his own country.

In November, for example, a court in Istanbul charged two journalistsfrom the opposition Cumhuriyet daily with spying after they alleged Turkey's secret services had sent arms to Islamist rebels in Syria.

A year earlier, Turkish police earlier raided media outlets close to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan accuses of forming a 'parallel state' to undermine his rule and orchestrating a graft scandal targeting his inner circle.

In the past, Erdogan has also threatened to ban websites such as YouTube and Facebook when those websites leaked recordings in which Erdogan and his son allegedly discuss how to hide vast sums of money.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *