The Dirty German Ditty That Got Erdogan So Angry That He Sued

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….

Police protection?

In any event, some readers were interested in the song even before Merkel knuckled under to her putative ally. Mathew provided the translation below:

Sackdoof, feige und verklemmt,
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.

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      1. Procopius

        I’m torn. It’s probably good that NC published it; get it spread all over the internet and it can never be erased. Downside is it’s likely to give the right-wing trolls ideas, and they’re unpleasant enough already.

  1. kimyo

    if anonymous were a real thing they’d make a ringtone from the original recording of this song and force it onto every single cell phone in turkey.

  2. EmilianoZ

    The law is the law. What can you do?

    Anyways why are the Germans so mad at Erdogan? Is it like in his job description to guard the door to Germany? Germany needs the migrants anyway. Germany has a very low birth rate. It’s a win/win situation. Everything’s gonna be all right. The Germans just need to be nicer to their guests.

    1. jgordon

      You make a good point here. The law is the law. And the law has nothing to do with morality and justice. Whatever set of deranged/depraved crooks get into power is who gets to make the laws; and those laws aren’t there to help anyone but themselves.

    2. Procopius

      Could it possibly be that they know he’s aggravating the refugee problem by trying to build his Greater Turkmenistan in Northern Syria and supporting ISIL to do it? Plus, of course, it’s just possible that ordinary Germans feel an affinity for the Kurds.

  3. ewmayer

    Times like this I really miss Frank Zappa, but also appreciate the fact there are plenty of other ‘creative crudeness’ agitators/satirists out there. Question: Are laws such as the one at issue in Germany here not in blatant conflict with the EU charter?

    Getting back to the Zappa…

    Fick mich, du miserabler hurensohn
    Fick mich, du miserabler hurensohn
    Streck ihn aus
    Streck aus deinen heifien gelockten.
    Streck ihn aus
    Streck aus deinen’ heinen gelockten
    Streck ihn aus
    Streck aus deinen heiften gelockten schwanz
    Mach es sehr schnell
    Rein und raus
    Magisches Schwein
    Mach es sehr schnell
    Rein und raus
    Magisches Schwein
    Bis es spritzt, spritzt, spritzt Feuer!
    Bis es spritzt, spritzt, spritzt Feuer!
    Aber beklecker nicht das Sofa, Sofa!
    Aber beklecker nicht das Sofa, Sofa!
    Aber beklecker nicht das Sofa, Sofa!
    Aber beklecker nicht das Sofa, Sofa!

    Stunned by JOE’s command of its native tongue, a gleaming model
    XQJ-37 nuclear powered Pan-Sexual Roto-Plooker named SY BORG
    (previously thought to be the son of the lady who called the Police on cut
    two, side I), spindles over to JOE and says…[/i]

    1. diptherio

      I always wanted me one of them magical toasters with marital aids stuck all over it….

    2. jgordon

      Also in the immortal words of Zappa:

      In Washington, they just take care of number one. And number one ain’t you. You ain’t even number two.

      -Frank Zappa, The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing

  4. McDruid

    Though I generally approve of making fun of Erdogan, some of these verses verge on racist.

  5. sporble

    Two little mistakes in the translation – probably typos, the 1st is noticeably more relevant:

    He’s the man who BEATS girls (not “bears”)

    His FAVORITE thing is fucking goats and oppressing minorities (not “he prefers to”)

    Yes, folks, life here in Berlin isn’t for the faint of heart!

    1. Mathew D. Rose

      Mathew here. Thanks for the corrections. It was one of those late night/early monrning translations.

    1. anonymous

      I agree it’s unfunny and vulgar beyond what satire should be, but the objective was less humor and more a challenge of Germany’s antiquated lese-majesté laws and Merkel’s indefensible stance on Turkey and, in that, it was very successful. Hard to see how Merkel ends the year as chancellor.

      1. Malcolm MacLeod, MD

        anonymous: Great call. Erdogan and his family are a crime syndicate, and Frau
        Merkel was foolish to become diplomatically close to him. His desire is to milk
        as much money from Germany as he can, and give as little as possible in return.
        The German folk are getting up in arms over Merkel’s extreme power overreach,
        and it would be a blessing to see her leave soon. She’s killing the CDU.

  6. Eclair

    I have a friend, an academic who studied in Frankfort and whose partner is German, who has is active in keeping his circle up-to-date on what Erdogan is doing to journalists and academics who are protesting his actions in repressing Kurds and in shredding civil liberties in Turkey. They are being jailed and tried in closed courts. The MSM is not covering this (well, surprise!).

    The man is definitely not nice.

  7. Brian

    the interpretation here goes awry;
    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.

    1. Doesn’t this show the people of Germany think their laws are absurdist? 2. Doesn’t this show the people of Germany think their leaders are out of touch with democracy and their rights?

    Frau Gelli has demonstrated she is an authoritarian. I worry that I am wrong about 1 and 2.

  8. No one in particular

    One correction and a question:

    Firstly, the “lese-majeste” law you are referring to originates from the “Reichsgruendung” 1871 – i.e. the frist German State – neither the Nazi’s or the Allies did care to abolish it consequently – Merkel said yesterday “it is out of date and will be removed”.

    Please explain:
    “they might be causing ineffable suffering for hundreds of thousands of war refugees”

    Where and how? I thought the Germans were the only ones still taking Syrians from Turkey under the new deal.

    Yves, I really value your writing – no need to bolster it with inaccuracies.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Please reread the post. There was an HTML problem that meant that two paragraphs of text weren’t visible, and it also showed a reposting of some of Rose’s post earlier in the week as if I had written it.

      Also your “correction” is not a correction but an addition. The law is in place at the time Erdogan filed his suit. I did see that at BBC but did not consider it to be that important for this post. Abolishing the law will not stop Erdogan’s litigation. It will only bar future suits of that sort.

      There was nothing in error in the post. Rose said, and this was visible in the earlier version with the two paras at the top hidden: “He is well aware that there is a German law from the nineteenth century, which explicitly forbids insulting foreign heads of state.” While you are giving the specifics, Rose had already flagged that the law in question was ancient.

      1. No one in particular


        I re-read and above it still seems to imply – for me, that it was a statue created by the Nazis, I am glad for the clarification. I never had any intention to imply that the plan to abolish the statue would affect the Erdogan case.

        However, – and I cannot vouch for the source, so please to be read with a pinch of salt – the whole drama seems to be overblown – and cui bono?

        As per below (German only), apparently the statue 103 of the German penal code seems only to apply to a head of state who ” was in Germany on official business while insulted” – which – if so – clearly was not the case with Erdogan. However, for Angie it is easier to let the courts throw it out rather than pointing to the obvious – and I agree – this is an addition.

        What about the suffering war refugees?

  9. WilliesLastJoint

    That poem was unfair. Boehmermann shouldn’t have singled out Erdogan. Which world leader doesn’t keep a goat next to the nightstand?

  10. Vatch

    So, if Trump is elected President of the U.S., and prior to 2018, a German comments on the U.S. President’s small hands, would that violate this law?

    Disclaimer: I don’t know whether or not Donald Trump really has small hands or not.

    Also, would a description of President Hillary’s laughter as “cackling” violate this law?

      1. cassandra

        Cackling? Isn’t that something done only by the wicked witch of the West? Oh….; never mind.

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