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. Turkey is useful to Europe because it’s keeping out Syrian refugees. The US and all of Western Europe genuflect before Erodgan’s fascism as a matter of convenience and their essential agreement/imposition with/of the policy.

    As to Merkel and the German law: criticism of the most powerful people in the world is absolutely necessary to a functioning democracy. These are the people responsible for some of history’s and the current world’s worst crimes. Murder, torture, market manipulation, persecution of political dissenters etc. are their stock in trade. They should be criticized and further, they should be prosecuted.

    As to people writing all the criticism of Merkel’s looks etc. That is just weird. Her looks aren’t the problem, her gender isn’t the problem, her actions are the problem.

  2. Franzromer,
    This female district court judge threatened me with contempt because I had been trying to get her to listen the tape recording for about 8 months. Every time there was a hearing, I had to change my schedule every week, to make myself available to testify to the authenticity of that tape recording, of which she kept putting off.

    Then when she addressed me, I told her if she would just listen to the tape, it was submitted into evidence and I was there every time to testify to it, that we could wrap this trial up sooner.

    She threatened me with contempt of court and to put me in jail or fine me. So I apologized to this arrogant female district court judge, when I wanted to scream at her to put her labido away and judge by the facts. lol

    She’s no longer that Senior district court judge’s assistant judge and I’m not even sure she’s still a judge. She costs us tens of thousands of dollars because of her stupidity and sexually biased rulings in favor of a wife beater/child abuser.

    They literally flirted with each other to the point where it forced the plaintiffs attorneys to get their own court reporter.

    The kids were damaged. The girl has been in and out of jail, doing drugs and has issues. The boy recently graduated from high school but kept getting into trouble for petty theft. These people aren’t trailer trash either. Their families lived in two of the most richest cities in that state and went to the #1 school district in the state.

    The funny thing is, the abusive father worked in intelligence for the military. To this day, I hate that judge for the lasting damage her rulings had on these children.

  3. Yeah, that’s like calling Ted Cruz and/or G. Bush a “conservative.” As if 500 foreign military bases, spreading “democracy” around the globe (even in goat herding nations where women are chattel), foreign military excursions for 100% intentionally fabricated reasons (lies) and directly causing debt to double, is “conservative.”

    Merkel’s hypocrisy is staggering. She’s all in favor of Third Reich practices as long as a so-called “Jew” is not involved. If Bohmermann had one less “n” in his name, Merkel would be impeached and in prison.

  4. Merkle is a disgrace. Just like Obaama bending and scalping to theocrats like the president of Turkey and Obmam to the princes do Saudi Arabia.

    If you read the “poem” in context, it was meant to be offensive to prove a point. Imagine how simultaneously arrogant and Fragile and sensitive this man must be to be offended by a comedian. I have to say they all seem to think they are gods…..immune from the kinds of things mere humans must live with every day. Shame on Merkle. And she is getting hit hard in German. The newspapers and cartoonists are having a field day!

  5. This is what you get, folks, when there is a grotesque, dim-witted, maniacal, menopausal leader at the helm, who is allowed to run the country.

    Then, of course, there’s Merkel.

    BTW, I read the subject matter of the article, quickly. I thought that it said, MERKEL OFFERS ERDOGEN HEAD. . .

  6. Aren’t we told over and over again how wonderful all of Europe is and we need to be more like them?

  7. Lisa N, I watched a similar process. The mother lamented at the court that the father abused her three children and sexually abused them as well. The children were taken away from the mother and the mother was instructed by the judge to the psychiatric ward. Well it turns out that the 12 year old son had a syphilis conata. For this fact, however, the mother must necessarily have or have had Syphilis. The mother never had had syphilis, as evidenced by four tests. Any more question?

  8. The reason American government is the best form of government in the world is because the Founding Fathers, especially James Madison, in the 1700’s studied the previous 2000 years of world history – including Germany’s history.

    Madison and the other Framers were “world” experts on why governments and empires fail. These top experts of government designed the American system to prevent us from repeating the mistakes of world history.

    Even today in 2016, there is not an expert alive today (worldwide) that has read as much as Madison did in the 1700’s. Every world leader, including Merkel, can learn from the real government experts. It’s also why we should be extremely careful amending the “supreme law of the land” founded on the lessons of world history.

  9. I think Merkel has a thing for authoritarian Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, or why put her people in jail over a joke?

    I just don’t believe a woman is a good fit to lead, they go by emotions, except the Brits.

    I knew a district court judge who kept ruling in favor of a lying child abuser because he was a handsome weekend warrior.

    The senior judge kept changing her rulings. Then she finally listened to a tape of this man’s wife/stepmom and all of the horrible things he did to his children and her. Instead of banning him from the kids, she banned the wife/stepmom from the household and she tried to hang herself in the family’s garage.

    The two attorneys got into a fist fight right there in the courtroom.

    When the father testified, he flat out lied to the senior judge’s face on his 6 domestic abuse charges and fines in the past 6 months. The senior judge forcibly took the kids from him and put them in foster homes.

    The senior district court judge literally broke his gavel when he hit it on his desk for his ruling. He almost put a his chair through the wall as he got up from his chair and then shook the walls of the courtroom when he slammed his door to leave.

    I think at that point he realized that his female junior judge screwed up his entire case. She made him look like a complete fool. I was the one who assisted the plaintiffs attorneys to get the info on the abusive father. He beat his children and starved them. His 15 year old daughter weighed only 80lbs.

    We were so frustrated with the female judge and it was so obvious that she was smitten with this abusive father to the point of ignoring witness testimony, including a the DA ordered county forensics interviewer, whom interviewed the children. She’s a disgrace to the profession and to women, for being blinded by her attraction to the much younger abusive father to the point of causing a courtroom brawl and adding 9 months of court costs to all parties.

    Same with Merkel, she probably has a secret attraction to authoritarian Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and her own people are paying the price!

  10. Another bizarre fact to suppress freedom of expression in Germany: I was deputy chief of an Association of Human Rights. A disabled boy in a Caritas children’s home in the town of Kleve was mistreated in orphanage. It later emerged that the head of the home stated at the court: he attributed that the boy was abused by other child in the orphanage.

    Despite this confirmation of the home manager I was tortured justicialy with injunctions by the youth welfare office director, although I made petitions to stop the abuse somehow. Since the year 2009 the complaints continued. Facts are the following:The Basic Law stipulates according to Article. 17 [Petition]: Everyone has the right, individually or in writing to apply in community with other requests or complaints to the competent authorities and to the legislature.

  11. Nick, you’re kidding, right? Merkel took Greece’s last goat as partial payment on debt obligations. She’s an economic conservative.

  12. Germans have to be walking tall as the kowtow to a middle eastern despot.

  13. This is why Germany needs a Constitution with a Bill of Rights including a First Amendment and why Germany needs a Supreme Court which can trump statutes and legal prosecutions which offend the civil rights of individuals. And this is why America needs a Trump to stand up to Hitler, Mussolini, Merkel and their offspring. Does Merkel have kids?

  14. When they came for the poets I did not say anything. When they came for the comedians I was not a comedian so I did not object. When they came for the Gypsies I was not one and did not say anything. When they came for the…..

  15. Obama’s buddy Erdogan is indeed an a-hole. But, he is not the issue here. It is the socialists/leftist Merkel. To not see that is appalling.

  16. I’m working on my slanderous poetry.

    There once was an a**ho#e from Turkey
    Who loved to do strange things with beef jerky
    He exclaimed with increasing potentate power
    That this is the place, and the hour
    To bow down to him, in spite of the promises of liberty and cower.

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