Germany Moves To Remove Anti-Erdogan Poem And Merkel Calls Turkey To Apologize

220px-Angela_Merkel_(2008)220px-Recep_Tayyip_ErdoganWe recently discussed how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has turned his suppression of critics to other countries and was demanding action from governments against his critics. At the time, I was relieved to report that Germany had held the line on free speech. My relief of premature. German ZDF public television said Monday it had deleted a poem recited by presenter Jan Böhmermann from last Thursday’s edition of “Neo Magazin Royal” after pressure from the German government. Böhmermann’s poem, containing numerous sexual innuendos, accuses Erdogan of repressing minorities, including Kurds and Christians. German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Chancellor Angela Merkel in a telephone call on Sunday evening with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had agreed that Böhmermann had recited a “deliberately abusive text.” Merkel has done precisely what civil libertarians feared: feeding Erdogan’s desire to suppress speech and affirming that he can indeed silence critics abroad. In the meantime, Merkel’s call did not take Erdogan away from his signature work in suppressing any and all critics. Erdogan’s government was busy this week with the arrest of dozens of political opponents.

What is truly maddening is that the spokesman insisted that none of this takes away from the “high value” the German government placed on freedoms of the press and public opinion. Unbelievable. Merkel silences Germans to appease a rising dictator while insisting that she remains committed otherwise to free speech.

Böhmermann mocked Merkel and said “Limits, at last. I think we have spectacularly shown, jointly with ZDF, where the limits of satire lie by us in Germany. At last!”

Merkel is not the only one who should be condemned in this matter. ZDF Program director Norbert Himmler insisted that there were limits to irony and satire.
“In this case, they were clearly exceeded . . . As a result, in consultation with Jan Böhmermann, we have decided to take the passage out of the broadcast. That relates to the video in the Mediathek, clips on YouTube, and re-runs.”

As we discussed, Erdogan flew into a rage over a satirical song entitled “Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan,” that ridiculed Erdogan’s alleged extravagance and a crackdown on civil liberties. Here is the video:

The video is a parody of a 1980s song by the German pop star Nena, “Irgendwie, Irgendwo, Irgendwann,” (“Anyway, Anywhere, Anytime”) which is changed to “Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan.” The facts that it reports however are not satirical but actual. The video details Erdogan crackdown on democracy and basic freedoms as well as his infamous intolerance for any criticism. Merkel has now added fuel to the meglomania of Erdogan in saying that certain criticism will not be tolerated in Germany. That is likely far more than the Turks ever dreamed of . . . to have a major Western nation embrace censorship.

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here). In Germany, Merkel government has crackdown on anti-immigration speech as the government expands its list of permitted and prohibited speech.

The enabling of an authoritarian like Erdogan is a new low for the Western nations. Not only is Erdogan destroying free speech and the free media in Turkey, but he has now found a way to enlist Western governments like Germany to embrace the same anti-free speech principles.

25 thoughts on “Germany Moves To Remove Anti-Erdogan Poem And Merkel Calls Turkey To Apologize”

  1. Riesling, Your perspective from across the pond is always appreciated.

  2. Good point, Paul. I wonder if they would have deleted the poem and apologized if the addressee had been Donald Trump.

  3. Maybe Merkel just wants Germans to “be passionate but don´t get personal”. 🙂

    1. Riesling – Hitler was against ‘decadent art’ maybe Merkel is against ‘decadent poetry’?

  4. Hmmmm…..I just tried to post a comment containing some of the words used in Böhmermann´s poem. WordPress wouldn´t post my comment to this blog. Ironic, no?

  5. This is what you get if you love government and look to it for protection ( or to loot in your behalf ). Whatever floats your boat Humanity is doomed ( thank Zeus ) I look forward to ASI to replace us.

  6. Of course she did. Nanny state Europe erodes individual rights because a powerful government is best, in the opinion of socialists. The more power you give the government over your lives, the less power you have.

    You are to recall that Hillary Clinton has spoken in favor of blasphemy laws, and Bernie Sanders is a self avowed socialist. If you close your eyes and vote for either, you can see the end result of such policies. So don’t complain about it if you make it come to pass.

    You can either relegate government to basic infrastructure, or put it in charge of you from cradle to grave and essentially never grow up.

  7. Here is Böhmermann´s “apology” : Should I have, while fulfilling my fee-financed educational mandate (this means he works for government-owned TV) , injured the feelings of a flawless democrat, I humbly ask for forgiveness.

  8. Anyway, Merkel is basing her apology on the fact that the poem took away Erdogan´s dignity, which is not allowed in Germany because the German Basic Law contains the sentence that: Human Dignity is inviolable.

    I like Böhman´s mocking of Merkel regarding limits: She refuses to put any limit on the number of refugees that Germany can accept, yet she´s very fast in applying limits to free speech.

  9. Blasphemy and speech code laws are what the Obama’s, Clinton’s and Merkel’s love. It makes them morally superior and in CONTROL, CONTROL, CONTROL! And, CONTROL is what folks like that worship. It is their deity.

  10. I think this was just a ploy by ZDF and Jan Böhmermann to up the viewership of their TV Show.

  11. First they came for the Gypsies and I was not a Gypsy so I did not say anything. Then they came for the Jews and I did not object because I was not one. Then they came for me and there were no people around to object. So, off to Buchenwald. When I was freed I lived in East Germany. Then the Russians came for ….

  12. So merkel has decided to apply turkey’s version of freedom of speech in germany. The next question is: will Merkel punish or prosecute german critics of Erdogan who may refuse to comply with her censorship dictates. Erdogan, like Putin, consider that criticism of a head of state is not “speech” and is not entitled to protection. Instead, such criticism are attacks against the the state and,depending on the circumstances including the violence of the attacks, could constitute a form of treason. This is not the case in Germany but watch out folks.

  13. All this unfettered immigration, apologizing, etc. is merely Angela auditioning for the Nobel Peace Prize like her buddy, Barack “The Drone King” Obama.

  14. What’s next apologizing for sausages! I’m sorry but until the West tells these autocratic babies that their offense is their problem we will continue to slide down the well greeted slide of being filed by them! I really used to respect Merkle but my respect is diminishing by the minute.

  15. Churchill once said that a German is either at your feet or at your throat.

    Ms. Merkel has obviously chosen which position she prefers.

  16. Erdogan was at Brookings and was asked about his government’s intolerance of criticism.

    His pathetic response, to paraphrase: “I like criticism, I welcome criticism, but not insult.”

    It’s that sort of position that deserves ceaseless mocking, ridicule, and insult, ironically enough.

  17. Heil Erdogan! (Right arm straight up, palm forward, fingers extended)

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