BERLIN, Germany (A.W.)—Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that Berlin has accepted a formal appeal from Ankara to seek the prosecution of German comedian Jan Boehmermann, who has been accused of poking fun at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“The government will give its authorization in the case at hand,” Merkel told reporters on April 15, reported RFE/RL. Merkel added that it was up to the courts to decide whether or not the comedian is guilty.
Ankara demanded that Boehmermann be prosecuted for insulting a foreign head of state, which Merkel accepted according to section 103 of the German criminal code, which refers to the insulting of organs or representatives of foreign states, according to RFE/RL. While speaking to reporters, Merkel also said that Germany would scrap the rarely enforced section of the criminal code by 2018.
Boehmermann read a poem he penned about Erdogan on Germany’s ZDF television two weeks ago. According to the comedian, the poem was meant to poke fun at the widespread state censorship in Turkey, especially after another German comedian’s satirical song about Erdogan angered Turkish authorities a few weeks ago.
“The fiction of the Turkish state and society embracing European values is becoming increasingly apparent. The sad reality is that European leaders are allowing Turkish authoritarians to impose their values on Europe,” the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) said in a Facebook post on the Boehmermann incident.