Apr 17 2019

German court dismisses comedian's case against Merkel over Erdoğan poem

A court in Berlin has rejected a bid by German comedian Jan Böhmermann to sue Chancellor Angela Merkel over her response to a poem lambasting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

Judges in a Berlin court on Monday dismissed an attempt by comedian Böhmermann to ban Merkel from repeating her criticism of his 2016 poem, which sparked a diplomatic row with Turkey, it said.

The German chancellor called the poem, which triggered a debate about free speech in Germany,  "deliberately offensive," but later said her choice of words had been a "mistake."

The comments from Merkel arrived when Erdoğan was seeking to sue the comedian using an old law that was removed altogether in response to the case.

The profanity-laced text delivered by the comedian on a late-night programme screened on the German state broadcaster ZDF in March 2016 accused the Turkish president of, among other things, “repressing minorities, kicking Kurds and slapping Christians while watching child porn”.

The court said it was rejecting Böhmermann's complaint because Merkel had already distanced herself from the remark with the Chancellery insisting there was no danger of it being repeated.