Recep Tayyip Erdogan Jan Boehmermann.jpg
A composite picture made of file pictures shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and German comedian and television host Jan Boehmermann (R). In his satirical TV show 'Neo Magazin Royale' which was aired on 31 March, Boehmermann declaimed an invective poem targeted at Turkish president Erdogan.
Photograph: EPA/ROBERT GHEMENT

A German TV comic whose satirical poem insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan released a video message Wednesday in response to a decision by prosecutors not to pursue a criminal investigation against him.

In April, the German government approved criminal proceedings against Boehmermann for reciting a crude poem on public broadcaster ZDF in which he said Erdogan watched child pornography and performed sex acts with animals.

The investigation of Boehmermann was carried out under Germany's defamation law and a little-used statute against insulting foreign heads of state, prompting a heated debate about the limits of free speech in Germany.

"At the core this is about a joke; some say it was in bad taste, others say it was exactly right at that particular point in time," Boehmermann said in a video message released on social media.

"You can always think of a joke as superfluous or as a success, as freedom of opinion; that is the defining difference between a joke and the fundamental values of our society," he said.

Boehmermann went on to emphasize the importance of freedom of expression in Germany, and to criticize the human rights situation in Turkey since the July 15-16 military coup attempt.

"While you are watching this video, there are people in Turkey that have been detained without a fair trial, that are having to give up their passports, that aren't allowed to leave the country, that are losing their job ... because they expressed a different opinion than what is allowed," Boehmermann said.

Latest news

White House bars major news outlets from press briefing

The New York Times, CNN and Politico were among the organizations blocked from Friday's so-called gaggle, or informal briefing, according to reporters from those outlets. Representatives of the Associated Press and Time magazine boycotted the meeting in a show of solidarity, according to the Times.

Report: German intelligence spied on BBC, other foreign journalists

Germany's intelligence agency monitored foreign journalists at the BBC, the New York Times and other news organizations from 1999 onwards across several countries, according to a Friday report from Der Spiegel magazine.

Classroom for Islamic religious education opened in Split

A classroom for Islamic religious education, whose equipment was financially assisted by city and county authorities, was opened in the coastal city of Split on Friday.

Ministry say no licences for export of military goods to Saudi Arabia issued in 2016

The Economy, Enterprise and Crafts Ministry on Friday issued a statement regarding media reports about export licences for military goods, stressing that in 2016 it did not issue any licences for the export of military goods to Saudi Arabia.

Croatia for preserving Bosnia's stability

Croatia on Friday supported the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), calling on its authorities to adopt decisions in institutions, after a request by BiH Presidency Bosniak member Bakir Izetbegovic to review a ruling which acquitted Serbia of genocide.

Mexico is not a migrant "waiting room" for US, interior minister says

Mexico will not accept undocumented immigrants from other countries whom the United States plans to deport, Mexico's interior minister said Friday.

Right-wing populist Wilders declines first Dutch election debate

Candidates from nine Dutch parties answered questions from journalists Friday at the first national radio debate of the election campaign, but the leading candidate

Bosnian Croat reps insist on channel airing programmes in Croatian

Being one of the constituent peoples, the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina are entitled to a broadcaster that will air programmes in their native language, HNS BiH official Ivan Vukoja said at a news conference in Mostar on Friday.

Same-sex couples in Slovenia can marry

A Slovenian law allowing same-sex couples to marry went into force on Friday and the first civil registrar ceremony, between two women, is to take place in Maribor on Saturday, the town's Vecer daily said.

Moody's changes Agrokor's outlook to negative

The Moody's rating agency on Friday changed its outlook for the Agrokor food retailer from stable to negative, affirming its rating of B3.

Trump says he represents America, 'not the globe'

US President Donald Trump said Friday his aim is to serve the United States and not the rest of the world, doubling down on his "America First" message in wide-ranging remarks to a conservative conference.

Croat member of Bosnia's state presidency says crisis won't escalate

The Croat member of Bosnia and Herzegovina's collective State Presidency, Dragan Covic, said on Friday that the crisis caused by the unilateral submission of a request for a review of the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) genocide ruling from 2007 against Serbia would not escalate into an armed conflict.