Germany 'inspecting' Turkish demand for probe on Erdoğan satirist
BERLIN - Agence France-PresseChancellor Angela Merkel spoke on April 12 about the importance of free speech as Berlin weighs a Turkish request to prosecute a German TV satirist who criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, saying that her country was examining the request.
Merkel said her government considers the case entirely separate from other political issues, including the EU-Turkey pact meant to end the mass influx of migrants to Europe.
She said Germany's constitution guarantees "freedom of expression, academia and of course the arts", adding that "these values apply regardless of all the political problems that we discuss with each other. And that includes the issue of refugees."
Erdoğan's government has issued a formal protest against TV comedian Jan Boehmermann and demanded that he be prosecuted.
The case comes at a time as Europe and Ankara reached a deal to curb the flow of migrants taking boats headed for the European Union from Turkey's shores.
Merkel - who has labelled the poem "deliberately insulting" - said Turkey's request was being "very carefully" examined by the relevant government offices, including her chancellery, with a decision expected in coming days.
She also said that finding a solution on the refugee issue was in the interest of both Turkey and the EU, including Germany.
"But all this is completely independent of fundamental rights in Germany, and therefore also of Article Five -- the freedom of the press, opinion and academia, and completely disconnected from this," Merkel said.