Turkey ‘demands’ takedown of Erdogan-mocking video, German authors add subtitles instead
Ankara reportedly pressurized Berlin into removing a satirical clip aired by NDR earlier this month. However, the show’s producers decided to amplify the message and released English and Turkish subtitled versions of the video criticizing the Turkish President.
Following the broadcast of the satirical piece titled “Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan” on an NDR show titled “Extra 3” on March 17, German Ambassador Martin Erdmann was summoned several days later to officially explain “in length” the reasons for the broadcaster’s behavior.
The Turkish government has reportedly ordered the deletion of the satirical video from the “Extra 3” YouTube account following the initial diplomatic exchange.
“We demanded that the programme be deleted,” an anonymous Turkish diplomat told AFP.
On Tuesday, the Foreign Office in Berlin said that Erdmann has been called in once again. However, during the meeting the German ambassador made it clear to the Turkish side that Germany is home to freedom of speech which it will protect.
"The rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and the protection of fundamental freedoms, including press freedom... need to be protected", Erdmann said, according to NDR.
In the meantime, Extra 3 went out on a full-blown offensive against Erdogan's demand. The program’s Facebook page shared an image of the request to stop showing the clip under the caption “Erdogan’s idea of ‘TV on demand’”.
The broadcaster also posted a caricature depicting the Turkish president with a fire extinguisher in front of a laptop, saying: “Either you extinguish this video, or I’ll extinguish the internet”.
“The Turkish government apparently has taken diplomatic action... which is not compatible with our understanding of freedom of the press and opinion,” Andreas Cichowicz, the chief editor of NDR television told German news agency DPA.
To spread the message contained in the clip further, Extra 3amplified it with Turkish and English subtitles.
The satirical piece about “The big boss from Bosporus,” who is “ripe for his great Ottoman Empire,” starts off with criticizing Erdogan crackdown on freedom of speech. Erdogan is also criticized for the alleged shuffling of the electorate votes and cracking down on women.
“When journalists write a piece that Erdogan does not like, he quickly ends up in jail,” the song says, adding that “with tear gas and water cannons he is riding through the night.”
The video also focused on the lavish living of the Turkish president and his multibillion euro deals with the Europeans to keep migrants at bay, as well as the alleged sympathy for Islamic State terror group in Syria and military crackdown on Kurds.
“He loathes the Kurds and much rather bombs them then his brothers in faith over at ISIL,” the song claims.
The controversy appears to be increasing the popularity of the video, with the English version of the video on YouTube receiving over 1.7 million views in less than 24 hours after the news first emerged of Ankara summoning the German Ambassador.