Ministry: Germany refused Turkey's request to censor satire video

Germany refused a request by Turkey to remove a video that pokes fun at President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from the website of public broadcaster ARD, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry last week summoned the German ambassador, Martin Erdmann, to request the removal of the video, which mocks Erdogan's authoritarian policies by showing clips of police crackdowns on journalists and demonstrators.

"Germany's position on freedom of speech is non-negotiable," Sawsan Chebli said Wednesday in response to a question about how the German Foreign Ministry had responded to Turkey's request.

Chebli said that Erdmann had attended the trial of two Turkish journalists accused of revealing state secrets and supporting a terrorist organization as a "signal" to Ankara. The men had reported on Ankara's alleged arms shipments to Syrian rebels.

She declined to comment on whether recent events had affected diplomatic relations between Germany and Turkey, a country that is crucial to Chancellor Angela Merkel's bid to stem the European refugee crisis.

The chancellor led efforts by the European Union to reach a deal with Ankara that intends to return thousands of migrants back to Turkey in exchange for financial and political concessions, including progress in its long-running bid to join the bloc.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is critical of Turkey's decision to summon the German ambassador, a spokeswoman said Wednesday, noting that the step appears out of line with European values on media freedom.

"President Juncker does not appreciate this movement of calling in the German ambassador just because of a satirical song," said Juncker's spokeswoman Mina Andreeva.

"He believes that this moves Turkey further from the EU rather than closer to us," she added. "This move does not seem to be in line with upholding the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression."

Any country wishing to join the EU must adhere to the bloc's values on a range of issues, including human rights and media freedom. Turkey formally began membership talks in 2005.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

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