In a post earlier this week about Merkel’s escalating problems, Mathew D. Rose mentioned that something that would seem to be beneath her notice, an obscene satirical song that made fun of her putative ally, Turkey’s Erdogan, was adding to her headaches:
Then came the satirists. It all began with a political programme, Extra 3, in state television that produced a critical song about Erdogan. The German ambassador in Istanbul was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry to explain how such a piece deprecating the great leader could appear in German television. The affair was apparently so embarrassing for Ms Merkel’s government that at an ensuing press conference the spokesperson of the German government tried to avoid using the word “summons” with regard to the ambassador’s dressing down, speaking first of a “invitation” then “a serious appointment”.
The Germans loved the song. They might be causing ineffable suffering for hundreds of thousands of war refugees and their leader brown-nosing what German press calls “the half dictator” Erdogan, but weren’t they plucky little democrats demonstrating their love for freedom of the media with their little Erdogan song. Even the German government was posturing, claiming its determination to defend freedom of expression.
This sort of German hypocrisy is the sort of stuff another satirist, Jan Böhmermann, thrives on. During the Greek crisis of 2015, as Germany beat Greece into financial submission, Böhmermann produced brilliant pieces lambasting German policy and the complicity of most Germans, as well as their aggressiveness toward Greek society. Now he did the same with an “abusive poem” (Schmähgedicht). Had this been about Vladimir Putin, Bohmermann would have been the darling of the nation, but its subject was Erdogan. Before he presented his poem in German state television Böhmermann explained to his audience that it violated German law and then read on.
The contents were well and truly insulting and obscene, apposite for a dictator of Erdogan’s standing. It was also highly political. Still, the poem was pulled from the television archives shortly afterwards – that is one of the perks of the state owning television channels – and Böhmermann’s next show was cancelled.
Boehmermann is no fool. He is well aware that there is a German law from the nineteenth century, which explicitly forbids insulting foreign heads of state. Such archaic and authoritarian laws are not unusual in Germany. Many statutes created by the Nazis are still existent. There is one catch however. The German government has to explicitly give permission for charges to be lodged, which puts Ms Merkel and her government under a great deal of pressure following its grand declarations concerning the freedom of the media, should Turkey ask Germany to prosecute Böhmermann. Ms Merkel made one of her increasingly typical gaffes, when she let it be publicly known that she had informed Erdogan that the poem was “intentionally insulting”, thus interfering with the due course of law. Erdogan, thus encouraged by the Chancellor, had his ambassador file a legal complaint.
Ms Merkel’s press spokesman had implied that the German government would reach a decision concerning the issue on Wednesday – that was yesterday. There has been no decision. One can only assume that some sort of solution is being sought to get around this. There may be additional billions on the way to Erdogan. He in the meantime has filed a personal lawsuit against Böhmermann.
Here’s the update from the BBC:
Germany will allow the potential prosecution of a top comedian after the Turkish president filed a complaint.
Jan Boehmermann had recited a satirical poem on television which made sexual references to Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Under German law, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government had to approve a criminal inquiry.
Mrs Merkel stressed that the courts would have the final word, and it was now up to prosecutors to decide whether to press charges.
The chancellor added 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, by 2018.
Boehmermann is a satirist and television presenter well-known for pushing the boundaries of German humour. He was given police protection earlier this week.
Some experts say he has a strong defence against potential charges, because his poem could be seen as part of a wider piece of satire about free speech, rather than a deliberate insult….
In any event, some readers were interested in the song even before Merkel knuckled under to her putative ally. Mathew provided the translation below:
ist Erdogan der Präsident.
Sein Gelöt stinkt schlimm nach Döner,
selbst ein Schweinepfurz riecht schöner.
Er ist der Mann der Mädchen schlägt,
und dabei Gummimasken trägt.
Am liebsten mag er Ziegen ficken,
und Minderheiten unterdrücken,
Kurden treten, Christen hauen,
und dabei Kinderpornos schauen.
Und selbst Abends heißt statt schlafen,
Fellatio mit hundert Schafen.
Ja, Erdogan ist voll und ganz,
ein Präsident mit kleinem Schwanz.
Jeden Türken hört man flöten,
die dumme Sau hat Schrumpelklöten,
Von Ankara bis Istanbul,
weiß jeder, dieser Mann ist schwul,
Pervers, verlaust und zoophil
Recep Fritzl Priklopil.
Sein Kopf so leer, wie seine Eier,
der Star auf jeder Gangbang-Feier.
Moronic, cowardly and inhibited
Erdogan is president.
His you know what stinks like Doner,
even a pig’s fart smells better.
He’s the man who bears girls,
while he wears a mask of rubber.
He prefers to fuck goats,
and oppress minorities,
Kick Kurds, beat up Christians,
while watching child pornography.
And even evenings instead of sleeping,
instead fellatio with a hundred sheep.
Yes, Erdogan is without a doubt,
a president with a small cock.
One hears all the Turks whistling,
the stupid sod has shrivelled testicles,
From Ankara to Istanbul,
everyone knows this man is gay,
Perverted, verminous and zoophile,
Recep Fritzl Priklopil.
His head is empty, as are his balls,
the star at every gang bang party.