Merkel Says ZDF’s Poem On Turkey’s President Erdoğan ‘insulting’

merkGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel believes a German television sketch ridiculing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was “deliberately offensive,” her spokesman said Monday.

Ms. Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said she had discussed the comedy sketch in a phone call with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday evening. The sketch involved a poem making crude sexual jokes about Mr. Erdogan, and public broadcaster ZDF removed the clip from its website on Friday shortly after it went online.

“The chancellor and the prime minister agreed that the text of the poem was deliberately offensive,” Mr. Seibert said. “The chancellor pointed to the actions already taken by the transmitting broadcaster.”

Last week Mr. Böhmermann launched his own satire of Mr. Erdogan by explaining that even Germany had limits on what kind of ridicule was allowed. Defamatory criticism, he said, could be blocked by the courts. To demonstrate, he read out a poem filled with crude sexual references to Mr. Erdogan.

As if proving Mr. Böhmermann’s point, his ZDF network removed the sketch from its website the day after it was broadcast, saying that the comedian had “clearly crossed” the boundaries of irony and satire.

Afterward, Mr. Böhmermann posted on Facebook: “I believe that together with ZDF we have today, on April 1, 2016, impressively shown where the boundaries of satire lie in Germany. Finally!”

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