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“Press freedom makes his neck swell”—a brutal German parody of Turkey’s president makes diplomatic waves

Reuters/Umit Bektas
No mocking me!
By Jill Petzinger

Reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

Turkey has summoned the German ambassador to Ankara for a scolding, after a German TV network aired a scathing satirical song about Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Martin Erdmann was called to the foreign ministry over the broadcast on regional German TV station Norddeutsche Rundfunk (NDR), according to Spiegel Online.

The two-minute song, which has notched up over 600,000 views on YouTube, parodies the notoriously touchy president’s extravagant lifestyle, human rights abuses, and repression of dissent.

It also attacks Erdogan’s throttling of the press in Turkey, joking that the thought of press freedom makes Erdogan’s throat swell, which is why he’s often seen wearing scarves.

Spiegel recently pulled its own correspondent out of Istanbul, citing the country’s declining press freedoms.

One line reads: “He hates the Kurds like the plague / And prefers to bomb them rather than the religious brothers from Islamic State.”

Turkey demanded that the German ambassador make sure the song doesn’t air again, sources told AFP.

But NDR’s editor-in-chief Andreas Cichowicz told DPA that banning the video is “not compatible with our understanding of press freedom and freedom of opinion.”

The German foreign ministry declined to comment on the meeting, but the song comes at an especially delicate time for relations between the two countries: Chancellor Angela Merkel has pushed for closer ties with Turkey for help in controlling the refugee flow into the European Union.

The recent EU-Turkey deal over handling Syrian refugees has been widely criticized as an abuse of human rights.

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