German envoy expresses regret for defamatory poem, channel protested in Istanbul

ALI ÜNAL @ali_unal
Published 06.04.2016 21:58

Germany's ambassador to Ankara, Martin Erdmann, said on Wednesday that the content of the "Neo Magazin Royale" program on German TV recently was deliberately offensive and constitutes defamation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and added that there are limits to media freedoms.

The video, which contained a satirical poem with insults and profanity directed at Erdoğan, was broadcast on German regional television NDR on March 17. The video has garnered severe criticism both on social media and the public. The video was also criticized by some German politicians in parliament. The Foreign Ministry summoned Erdmann on March 29 to communicate Turkey's protest about the broadcast. Turkish officials also demanded that the broadcast be removed from the air. Germany's state broadcaster, ZDF, apologized on April 1 for the satire that it said "had crossed the line into slander" and pulled the program from a repeat airing. After deleting the video, ZDF said that the program did not live up to the broadcaster's quality expectations. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also discussed the video during a phone call on April 3. According to a statement from the state secretary and government spokesman, Steffen Seibert, Merkel told Davutoğlu that she found German comedian Jan Böhmermann's program "deliberately insulting."Responding to Daily Sabah's question about the defamatory poem, Erdmann expresses his regret for the offence it may have caused while reminding that ZDF has taken appropriate action and has withdrawn the video. He also said that there are limits to media freedoms when the content is deliberately offensive and constitutes defamation.


Scores of people protested the German channel ZDF in front of its Istanbul headquarters after it broadcast a video that deliberately insulted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. People carried Turkish flags and banners of the president.

A person from the group made a statement after the protest: "Even though the mentioned broadcast is trying to be depicted as an imaginary and satirical one, it is a disgrace and disrespect that cannot be tolerated, and it is derogatory and humiliating." The statement also said that since a Turkish flag was used in the broadcast it was insulting rather than satire. After shouting slogans the crowd left a black wreath in front of the ZDF building.

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