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Germany: Merkel touts ‘freedom of speech’ in face of 'insulting' Erdogan poem controversy01:38

Germany: Merkel touts ‘freedom of speech’ in face of 'insulting' Erdogan poem controversy

Germany, Berlin
April 12, 2016 at 01:48 GMT +00:00 · Published

German Chancellor Angela Merkel commented on Turkey's request to prosecute German comedian Jan Boehmermann over his satirical poem about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a joint press conference with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the Chancellery in Berlin, Tuesday.

"I want to stress... that we have fundamental rights written in the constitution and there is an Article 5 which stipulates the freedom of speech, science and of course art," said Merkel, before adding that "all these values are valid and completely uncoupled from political problems that we discuss with each other" with Turkey. She went on to say that "The issue of refugees is also among them. I think it's in the interests of Turkey and European Union as well as Germany to find a political solution here, to legalise the refugee routes and share the burdens."

Jan Boehmermann, host of Neo Magazin Royale, presented his satirical poem about the Turkish president on the public ZDF channel on March 31. The poem accuses Erdogan of repressing Turkey's national and religious minorities - Kurds and Christians, as well as referring to the Turkish leader as a ‘goat fucker’. The Turkish authorities reacted by sending a diplomatic note to the German foreign ministry on Sunday, asking them to launch a criminal prosecution against the comedian. According to German law, insulting foreign heads of state or representatives is potentially a crime and punishable by up to three years in prison.

Germany: Merkel touts ‘freedom of speech’ in face of 'insulting' Erdogan poem controversy01:38
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel commented on Turkey's request to prosecute German comedian Jan Boehmermann over his satirical poem about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a joint press conference with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the Chancellery in Berlin, Tuesday.

"I want to stress... that we have fundamental rights written in the constitution and there is an Article 5 which stipulates the freedom of speech, science and of course art," said Merkel, before adding that "all these values are valid and completely uncoupled from political problems that we discuss with each other" with Turkey. She went on to say that "The issue of refugees is also among them. I think it's in the interests of Turkey and European Union as well as Germany to find a political solution here, to legalise the refugee routes and share the burdens."

Jan Boehmermann, host of Neo Magazin Royale, presented his satirical poem about the Turkish president on the public ZDF channel on March 31. The poem accuses Erdogan of repressing Turkey's national and religious minorities - Kurds and Christians, as well as referring to the Turkish leader as a ‘goat fucker’. The Turkish authorities reacted by sending a diplomatic note to the German foreign ministry on Sunday, asking them to launch a criminal prosecution against the comedian. According to German law, insulting foreign heads of state or representatives is potentially a crime and punishable by up to three years in prison.

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