Merkel Offers Erdoğan The Head of German Comedian In Final Surrender Of Free Speech

220px-Recep_Tayyip_ErdoganAngela MerkelChancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to first apologize to authoritarian Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a satirical poem and then approve the prosecution of the comedian is a shocking and chilling disgrace. Merkel, who hails from the former Communist East Germany, has never been a reliable ally to free speech but the crackdown on comedian Jan Boehmermann has shocked the West. Even with the recent rollback of free speech rights in Europe, Merkel’s actions (and the cringing response of ZDF television) has been wake up call for all civil libertarians.


Under German law, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government had to approve a criminal inquiry. While she said that her government would move to repeal the controversial and little-used Article 103 of the penal code, which concerns insults against foreign heads of state, this would not happen until 2018. The provision (dating back to 1871) on defamation of organs and representatives of foreign states, states:

(1) Whosoever insults a foreign head of state, or, with respect to his position, a member of a foreign government who is in Germany in his official capacity, or a head of a foreign diplomatic mission who is accredited in the Federal territory shall be liable to imprisonment not exceeding three years or a fine, in case of a slanderous insult to imprisonment from three months to five years.

It is a ridiculous law that denies the very essence of free speech. Yet it was used successfully by Shah of Persia against a Cologne newspaper in 1964. It was also sued by hen-Swiss President, Micheline Calmy-Rey to prosecution a Swiss man living in Bavaria after he posted offensive comments Calmy-Rey, on the internet. Despite these outrageous cases, Germany has retained the law.

Moreover, Merkel’s fawning apology to Erdoğan, one of the world’s rising totalitarians, was widely viewed as the final capitulation of Western leaders to the calls for greater censorship and speech regulation.

We have seen the erosion of liberties in Turkey after the election of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his coalition of Islamic parties. Just last month, we discussed the arrest of Mehmet Emin Altunses, 16, who allegedly committed the crime of “insulting” Erdoğan. calling people who use birth control “traitors” and saying Muslims discovered America, you are not allowed to be disrespectful or insulting in discussing Erdoğan. Then there was the prosecution of model and former Miss Turkey Merve Buyuksarac, 26, for criticizing Erdogan for quoting a few lines from a poem called the “Master’s Poem” from weekly Turkish satirical magazine Uykusuz. Erdoğan’s totalitarian measures have earned him the nickname “Buyuk Usta” (the Big Master). Even a joking reference to Gollum and Erdoğan is enough to land you in jail today in Turkey.

Böhmermann will now have to prove that his poem was satire about free speech, rather than a deliberate insult — a bizarre standard since satire is often insulting and insults are part of free speech, particularly with regard to political leaders.

Merkel recently denounced the poem was “deliberately offensive” and ZDF television abandoned both free speech and its presenter in pulling Böhmermann’s weekly satire programme last week.

Despite her public apology and statement, Merkel insisted “The presumption of innocence applies” to Boehmermann.

For his part, Böhmermann used humor to respond to his own government’s persecution and told fans he planned to spend his break studying “freedom of the press and freedom of art in greater detail while traveling through North Korea.” He said that his decision to take a break was intended to allow “the public and the Internet can return to focusing on the important things in life, like the refugee crisis (and) cat videos.”

Merkel needs Turkey to take back refugees and has added $6 billion in aid to her sacrifice of free speech to keep Erdoğan happy.

It is important to note that Merkel is not alone in abandoning free speech. Despite its effort to spin the scandal, ZDF, the German network that airs Neo Magazine Royale, showed no courage or principle in taking the offending poem off the web. It then tried to maintain that it “respects” Böhmermann and will support him in any legal defense against the Turkish government.

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).

Merkel has plunged Germany into this rising sea of censorship and criminalized speech. Fortunately, polls show Germans are opposed to her and this appeasement of Erdogan. Perhaps the case will serve to focus Germans and Europeans in general on the diminishing protections for free speech in the West. If nothing else, the attempt to imprison a comedian for insulting an authoritarian leader should capture the dire status of free speech in Europe.

54 thoughts on “Merkel Offers Erdoğan The Head of German Comedian In Final Surrender Of Free Speech

  1. Time for me to call school to session here.

    1. Germany is an occupied nation. Occupied since the end of ww2 by the US in half; and since 1993 or so in whole.

    2. Germany had a very popular government which we now call “nazis.” They were defeated by the military but a substantial part of the German population did not change its ideas.

    3. Many Germans in the postwar including Nazis considered the alliance with NATO a mistake and turned instead to peace and even alliance with Russia as a potential option. Ernst Remer. SRP. If you dont know this look it up.

    4. Those guys were popular. They had to make their political parties illegal because it was an embarassment to the occupying authority (see number 1).

    5. Even today the problem exists and there is a special office in Germany to make political parties flat out illegal. usually or always they are make “neonazi” parties illegal.

    6. The post-collapse of the GDR left many eastern germans feeling nostalgic for the Third Reich and yet not very pro American. Skinheads come to mind. See All the above. They and their topics and their fancy salute are all illegal.

    7. Neither before the war nor after has Germany ever really cared about “Free speech” which is American notion of th English enlightenment and not really a German one. So political repression under third reich continued with denazification, a different type of repression, which continues up until today as we see.

    8. The geopolitical problem of US versus Russia persists as we can see from all the news about Putin the monster etc etc and the proxy war of shiiites versus sunnis in which the shiites are genearally aligned with Russia.

    9. turkey is a huge and important part of Germany just as big if not bigger in military and probably of greater geostrategic importance due to its location. America insists on treating the despicable Turks like valued NATO partners no matter how much trouble they cause like exporting refugees to Greece and arming radical militias and terrorists against the Syrian state.

    10. Germans dont like Turks. That’s considered racism by the US which only approves of hating certain designated groups of foreigners and Turks are not allowed to be hated just as Jews are not either.

    11. Because America is the occupier and it finds Turks and migrants and so forth geopolitically expedient for Germany to accept, it supports the repressive laws that put people in jail for criticizing the holocaust, migrants, Turks, whomever– the common denominator in all instances is American interests which trump German ones.

    Why and how? Back to number one. Germany was defeated and since 1945 is something like an undeclared autonomous colony in the American global Empire.

    I think a lot of Germans get this, but cant talk about it for obvious reasons. Since I am an American, I Get to say it like it is. God bless America!

  2. I meant to say in item 9 that Turkey is as big a part of NATO as Germany, not part of Germany. Sorry

    Greece obviously is an irrelevant part of NATO, which is why Turkey can invade greek cousin state cyprus and occupy it illegally, why it can invade Greece airspace, why it can export its refugees, etc etc etc. NATO is not there to serve Europe it serves American geopolitical interests.

    All the yakkety yack about freedoms is irrelevant to American geopolitical strategists. Our shibboleths are just repeated to befuddle the easily duped American public. Democracy, rights, all nonsense when the questions are matters of geopolitical strategy. Kissinger explained this but people didnt believe him or at least did not understand. Obviously a lot of us still don’t.

  3. The EU is basically the American blessed and American sponsored and American engineered European federal superstate which is there to make sure its “members” dont wander off the American plantation which is enforced by NATO.

    That is why the Greek public is not allowed to have its own currency.

    The UK is in some ways one of the most independent members of the EU as it is the closest to American by trade money blood and schemes. So it was not required to join the monetary union.

    The UK public probably understands that the EU superstate deprives the UK of sovereignity in spite of all the propaganda and will massively vote for Brexit. However, I predict that American electoral falsification engineers will be deployed to fix the vote and it will be a narrow win for the UK to stay in the EU.

    Thatcher warned about all this.

    Check it out what I say about the EU. Dulles was a huge supporter of the EU project. A lot of what has happened in the whole postwar period has gone according to the grand designs of the Dulles brothers and their honchos in investment banks and the CIA. This is not conspiracy theory it is conspiracy fact.

  4. Americans have no clue how powerful America really is. Unless they work in investment banks or the military or government. The rest of us rubes in flyover land keep on blathering these slogans to each other about free trade, or free speech, or democracy, or whatever buzz words we use to fool ourselves into thinking that America is different than any other big empire in history. Pure naivete. Lawyers are especially self deluding about these kinds of things but then again as licensees of government it is part of their role to shepherd the masses. And after all as every oligarch has known down through the ages back to plato, the masses do need guidance and somebody has to do it, why not me. LOL

  5. There was very little chance in 1914 that the Anglo American Empire was going to let Germany keep on its meteoric growth to a level that would make it a rival. Sooner or later the right conflagration ignited and one way or another they lost. They tried it again and lost again. There is zero chance now that Germany will ever again be truly independent. At this point there is a worldwide conflict between the unipolar world and the multipolar world and the Russians and Chinese who prefer the idea of multipolar are probably going to end up like Germany. That is, vanquished, and eventually living under the dollar zone or its coming successor the SDR. Goodbye sovereignity at that point for everyone, the world government will have arrived and the dream of Utopias will finally be achieved via capitalism instead of its janus twin communism. With one global state there will be the withering away of the state that the communists dreamed about and then we will all be slaves of the state just like they had in their own fiefdoms back in the day. Then the technocrats will have replaced humans with robots and AI and the best we will be able to hope for is plenty of food and sex to amuse ourselves and keep us busy and maybe get to go to the dubious version of heaven that the futurists promise where we upload our brains into the internet and live forever.

    Of course that state will be a state whether its called one or not and it will have an oligarchy too. Who knows maybe it wont work out that way and global thermonuclear war will plunge us into extinction. Either way our da sein seems vain if you ask me but then again the materialists have educated us that we are all only fancy animals so what’s it matter anyhow.

  6. In the meantime we need to appreciate that “individual rights” and “freedom” can be just as much a tool to deprive us of liberty as any other linguistic hokum. The German population may just figure that out and have one last blast of rebellion before they are finally overwhelmed and their unique heritage of blood and soil is finally erased by the deluge of immigrants which will eventually outnumber outbreed and dilute their identity into a similar mishmash as we are all headed for in the future global plantation. I see that they are heaving huge demonstrations even though these are rarely covered by US media. oh well they will have to organize if they are really serious and probably they will get too tired of all the conflict and just call some more Berlin love parades to distract themselves from their cultural and demographic collapse. Germans, that is your fate. Bow to the global masters! Merkel has all but finished you off.

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