‘What you get for dealing with dictators’ – German PP leader Kramm to RT on his Erdogan poem arrest

© Mike Herbst
The head of the Berlin branch of Germany’s Pirate Party, who was arrested for citing an insulting poem about Turkish President Erdogan, has told RT people should expect to lose their freedom of speech when their government “signs deals with dictators.”

Bruno Kramm was arrested on Friday for quoting a line from Jan Boehmermann’s satirical poem about Turkish President Recep Tajiip Erdogan during a rally supporting the comedian. The latter was forced to suspend his TV show last week after Chancellor Merkel heeded Erdogan’s calls to begin criminal proceedings against the famous satirist. He is now being prosecuted under a rarely used section of the German criminal code – Section 103 – for “insulting a representative of a foreign state.”

“[The fact] that Merkel now is actually giving Erdogan a chance to press lawsuits is ridiculous. But it shows that when you start to deal with dictators like Erdogan, then you will face severe troubles for your own people in your own country,” Kramm says.

He was told by police that merely quoting a line from the controversial poem was a violation of Section 103. The Pirate Party leader says his arrest is a clear sign that people in Germany are losing their right to express their thoughts out loud, which is what troubles him the most.

“I made some quotes [from the poem] and I was explaining it. I did not expect [an arrest]. Basically I was treated like a criminal. What is even worse, the whole demonstration was shut down, so the freedom of speech of so many people who wanted to speak was taken away.”

Kramm says he actually finds the poem too controversial, as it is “full of sexism and fascism” – views with which he does not agree. However, he also claims that in light of recent events, it’s hard to deny the Boehmermann’s accusations against the Turkish leader.

“I [analyzed] some other parts of the poem which are true.  Erdogan is [targeting] Kurdish people and that he is [threatening] Christian people in Turkey... Which is basically a fact.”

Last weekend, eight Syrians were killed by Turkish border guards while fleeing violence in their country as they were trying to cross into Turkey through a mountain smuggling route, as documented by a video obtained by The Times. They were forced back by government forces, who were firing live rounds. Most of the victims were women and children.

Kramm says European authorities refuse to see what a great mistake they’ve made by handing the keys to European borders and the “management” of refugees over to the Turkish president.

“What the EU and Merkel did – they signed a deal [providing] that, in the future, Erdogan will take care of Syrian refugees. But we just saw what he is doing to refugees at the border of Syria when he was shooting people to death. And basically now this person is responsible to somehow take care of the border of Europe […] I think Merkel’s done a huge mistake.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel went to Turkey on Saturday to discuss the implementation of the migrant deal that was sealed with Ankara in March, under which the EU will deport illegal migrants to Turkey and take back Syrian refugees, while providing Ankara with financial aid and promises of a visa-free regime for Turks.