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Erdogan Files Appeal in Germany Over Defamatory Poem Satirising Him

AFP

First published: October 11, 2016, 8:41 AM IST | Updated: October 11, 2016
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Erdogan Files Appeal in Germany Over Defamatory Poem Satirising Him
A file picture of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking after an emergency meeting of the government in Ankara. (AP)

Berlin: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has filed an appeal to contest a decision by German authorities to drop a probe into a TV comic who satirised him, local officials said on Monday.

The public prosecutor's office in Mainz, western Germany, said Erdogan had formally filed a request to have the decision overturned.

The suit was filed by Erdogan's lawyer on Sunday, Mainz head prosecutor Andrea Keller said in a statement.

The appeal will be handled by the general prosecutor's office in Coblenz, she said.

The episode has had a toxic effect on German-Turkish relations, casting a shadow over attempts to stem the influx of Syrian migrants via Turkey.

It stems from a broadcast on the public TV channel ZDF in March by comedian Jan Boehmermann.

Boehmermann recited a so-called "Defamatory Poem" satirically accusing of Erdogan of bestiality and paedophilia.

Boehmermann said the piece was a reaction to Ankara's decision to summon Germany's ambassador over another satirical song broadcast on German TV which lampooned Erdogan in far
tamer language.

The comic acknowledged the poem was intended to provoke, and would flout Germany's legal limits to free speech.

But the poem did not go down well in Ankara and Erdogan filed a criminal complaint.

In April, Chancellor Angela Merkel authorised an investigation as to whether Boehmermann could be convicted under rarely-enforced 19th-century laws on lese majeste -- a decision that earned her a rebuke from German rights groups.

The Mainz prosecutors announced on October 4, that they were scrapping the probe as the satire was so exaggerated it could not be taken seriously.

"There is no evidence that the accused was making a serious attack on the personal or social reputation of the Turkish president," they concluded.

German prosecutors are scheduled to rule next month on another aspect of Erdogan's complaint, which calls for a ban on all further broadcasts of the poem.

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