Ankara: A song lampooning Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that was broadcast on a German public television satirical show has sparked a diplomatic spat between Berlin and Ankara, sources on both sides confirmed today.
Turkey last week summoned Germany’s ambassador to protest the two-minute clip “Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan”, which ridicules the president, his alleged extravagant spending and crackdown on civil liberties.
The song is set to the tune of German pop star Nena’s 1984 love song “Irgendwie, Irgendwo, Irgendwann” (Anyhow, Anywhere, Anytime) and was screened on regional broadcaster NDR’s “extra 3” show on March 17.
The German-language lyrics charge, among other things, that “a journalist who writes something that Erdogan doesn’t like/ Is tomorrow already in jail”.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Turkish diplomatic source told AFP: “We summoned the ambassador last week to communicate our protest about the broadcast that we condemned.
“We demanded that the broadcast be removed from the air.”
A German diplomatic source confirmed Tuesday that Ambassador Martin Erdmann had held repeated talks with the Turkish foreign ministry over the song.
“In these talks he made clear that the rule of law, judicial independence and the protection of fundamental freedoms, including of the press and of expression, are valuable assets that should be jointly protected,” said the German source.
Erdmann had stressed that “in Germany, political satire is covered by the freedom of the press and of expression and the government has neither the need for, nor the option of, taking action.”
Erdogan’s government has been accused by critics of authoritarianism and muzzling critical media as well as lawmakers, academics, lawyers and NGOs.
Alluding to the government’s military crackdown against the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the song charges about Erdogan: “He hates the Kurds like the plague /And prefers to bomb them rather than the religious brothers from Islamic State.”
The government vehemently denies that the crackdown targets Turkey’s Kurdish minority, saying it is only aimed at wiping out “terrorists”.