Germany launches criminal investigation after comic insults Erdogan

A German comedian who made headlines after reciting a poem insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on German television, could face legal repercussions for his gag under Germany's defamation laws.

Authorities are investigating whether the poem - with which Jan Boehmermann sought to outdo the offensiveness of a previously aired song of the same subject - was in violation of a law that forbids insults against organs or representatives of foreign states, Attorney General Andrea Keller said.

State prosecutors in the western city of Mainz said they would order German state broadcaster ZDF to provide them with a recording of the poem, which it first aired last Thursday.

ZDF said late Wednesday that the authorities had not yet contacted them about the investigation and gave no further comment.

The prosecution said plans to consult the Federal Justice Ministry on whether criminal proceedings would be launched in the name of the Turkish state or Erdogan himself.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had criticized the poem as "deliberately offensive" and discussed the matter with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

The investigation marks the latest twist in a diplomatic dispute over news satire between the two countries, which began with a satirical song on German state television that angered Ankara with its references to Turkey's recent media crackdown and human rights record.

Last update: Wed, 06/04/2016 - 21:03
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