Cologne court rejects Erdogan's injunction against German publisher

A court in western Germany has rejected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's motion for an injunction against the chief executive of media giant Axel Springer, a court spokeswoman told dpa on Tuesday.

Erdogan sought to take legal action against Mathias Doepfner for the German media executive's praise of Jan Boehmermann, the German comedian who triggered a diplomatic crisis between Berlin and Ankara with the recitation of a lewd poem on March 31 that insulted the Turkish head of state.

Doepfner published an open letter to Boehmermann last month praising the poem, which joked that Erdogan watches child pornography and performs sex acts with animals.

"I laughed out loud," Doepfner wrote in German newspaper Die Welt, calling the text "priceless" and offering his solidarity after it prompted the Turkish leader to file a defamation complaint.

"I would like, Mr Boehmermann, to completely affiliate myself with all of your formulations and verbal abuse as a precaution and to make them in every legal sense my own," Doepfner wrote.

The media chief's statements in the letter were meant to be a defense of artistic and satirical freedom, according to Axel Springer.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel allowed an investigation to proceed against Boehmermann under an obscure and rarely used section of the German criminal code that makes it illegal to insult a foreign head of state. The German government has since announced plans to repeal the law.

Boehmermann's case unleashed a fierce debate about the limits of free speech in Germany and caused many to question the European Union's migration deal with Turkey, which critics say has left Merkel beholden to Erdogan in her bid to end the bloc's refugee crisis.

Last update: Tue, 10/05/2016 - 19:21
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