German tourists told not to make jokes while visiting Turkey. Recently the Turkish President Recep Erdogan reacted furiously to a poem performed on German television by comic Jan Boehmermann.
Mr Erdogan demanded that Mrs Merkel punish the comic for his controversial joke — and to the shock of human rights activists and free speech campaigners she agreed.
Now, tourists are being advised to keep humorous comments to themselves while visiting Turkey, with warnings against making “public political statements against the Turkish state” now added to the German foreign ministry’s website.
UPDATE: Boris Johnson writes that Angela Merkel is now silencing German satirists to please Erdogan. This is what the EU has wrought:
So, when a young German comedian called the Turkish leader a “goat –––––––”, in a little-watched broadcast on March 31, you might have thought that the best response – from Turkey’s point of view – was a dignified silence. Yes, I suppose it was puerile. And yes, I accept that it was not in especially good taste. But it was what we call a joke. It is utterly bewildering – and slightly shocking – that the Turkish leader has failed to see this.
The episode has, as they say, got his goat, and he has deployed all Turkey’s diplomatic and political weight in an effort to persecute the satirist, 35-year-old TV host Jan Boehmermann. …
Incredible though it may seem, the journalist could face five years in jail. But what is truly incredible – indeed what is positively sickening – is that the German government has agreed at the express request of Angela Merkel that the prosecution should go ahead.
Erdogan only became president 18 months ago – and yet in that time prosecutors have opened 1,845 cases against people accused of insulting him, including a doctor who posted a picture of Erdogan on social media, next to a picture of Gollum. …
But it is Turkey’s hand on the tap. Erdogan, if he chooses, can allow the trickle to turn back into a flood – with devastating consequences not just for Merkel, but for the whole project of EU integration. The British referendum is on a knife edge. … That is one reason why it is essential for Angela to suck up to Erdogan. That is why this egregious prosecution has drawn not a peep from the UK.
No one believes that Erdogan is a goat-fancier or that muffled baa-ing is to be heard from the presidential suite in Ankara. But in a free and pluralist society there is no reason why a self-professed satirist should not make a joke about it. The process of EU integration means the wholesale erosion of democracy; and it would seem that protecting that process means the erosion of free speech as well. The whole thing is infamous.
Boris is so quotable:
Davos man – the kind of people whose club-class air tickets are paid by the taxpayer, all the lobbyists and corporate affairs directors of the big companies: they are all increasingly nervous that they have been rumbled, that people can see the emperor has no clothes and that Britain could have a glorious future outside the EU.
hat-tip Stephen Neil