Germany says press freedom non-negotiable in talks with Turkey
REUTERS photoPress freedom is non-negotiable for Germany in its talks with Turkey, a German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on March 30, responding to questions after Turkey summoned Germany’s ambassador over a satirical video broadcast in Germany.
“[It has been] made clear that despite all the interests Germany and Turkey share, the view on press freedom and freedom of expression is non-negotiable for us,” said the spokeswoman at a regular government news conference.
Meanwhile, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker’s spokeswoman said Juncker believed Turkey’s summoning of Berlin’s ambassador over a song on German TV lampooning President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was out of line with the EU’s democratic values.
Turkey, a long-standing candidate for EU membership, last week called in the German ambassador to protest the airing of a short clip, “Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan,” which ridicules the Turkish president, his alleged extravagant spending and crackdown on civil liberties.
Asked about the incident, Juncker spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told reporters the head of the EU’s executive arm “does not appreciate this movement of calling in the German ambassador just because of a satirical song.”
France, on the other hand, hit back on March 29 at criticism coming from Turkey over the attendance of foreign consuls-general at the first hearing of a case into daily Cumhuriyet’s editor-in-chief, Can Dündar, and Ankara bureau chief, Erdem Gül, over espionage.
“The diplomats follow the news in their country of residence and, in that context, routinely attend judicial hearings as observers around the world,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The first day of the trial on March 25 was attended by top diplomats including the British consul general to Istanbul, Leigh Turner, who shared pictures including a selfie with a grinning Dündar under the hashtag #freedomofexpression