A satirical video poking fun at Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sparked a diplomatic row between Turkey and Germany as criticism continues over the EU refugee deal.
Extra 3, a weekly show by public broadcaster NDR, created a song called “Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan” (a play on “Erdo-how, Erdo-where, Erdo-when”) for its edition on 17 March.
The mock music video shows the president playing football, falling off a horse and wearing a huge blond wig amid clips of recent protests and unrest in Turkey.
“Press freedom gives him a swollen neck, that’s why he needs all those scarves,” says one line, translated from German.
“With tear gas and water cannons he’s riding through the night.”
The song takes aim at recent restrictions on press freedom in Turkey, including the recent takeover of the Zaman newspaper, and a crackdown on International Women’s Day protests.
“Equal rights for women…beaten up equally,” the song continues over footage of female demonstrators being hit with batons by riot police.
Targeting the controversial refugee deal that saw Turkey pledge to take thousands of asylum seekers returned from Greece in return for billions of euros and concessions in EU accession talks, it includes footage of a meeting between Mr Erdogan and Angela Merkel.
“Be nice to him, as he’s holding all the cards in his hands,” the singer orders. “Hand over your money and he’ll build you a refugee tent.”
The video also repeats criticism over Turkey’s military campaign against Kurdish groups fighting Isis over the border in Syria, claiming Erdogan would “much rather” bomb them than the so-called Islamic State.
The German ambassador to Turkey has been summoned to the foreign ministry over the broadcast.
Turkish officials condemned the video to ambassador Martin Erdmann during a meeting last week and demanded that NDR stopped showing it, according to a ministry staff member.
The broadcaster has made no move to remove the footage and was merrily tweeting out links to the song as the diplomatic furore continued on Tuesday afternoon.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan's craziest quotes
Recep Tayyip Erdogan's craziest quotes
1/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes
Just a week before he was elected President, he called Erdogan Amberin Zaman, the Turkey correspondent for 'The Economist', a "shameless militant woman disguised under the name of a journalist" after she had asked an opposition leader whether "Muslim society is able to question" the authorities. "Know your place," Erdoğan said. "They gave you a pen and you are writing a column in a newspaper. "And then they invite you to a TV channel owned by Doğan media group and you insult at a society of 99 per cent Muslims," he said he said according to Today's Zaman newspaper.
Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images
2/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes
Turkish people are pictured chanting slogans during an anti-government protest on Taksim square in Istanbul, on 29 June, 2013. The protests were sparked by brutal police action against a local conservation battle to save Istanbul's Gezi Park, and soon turned into nationwide demonstrations against the government. Amid the protests - the worst in Turkey for years - Erdogan accused demonstrators of being "arm-in-arm with terrorism," according to Reuters. "This is a protest organized by extremist elements. We will not give away anything to those who live arm-in-arm with terrorism," he said.
GURCAN OZTURK/AFP/Getty Images
3/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes
During last year’s protests, activists used social media to organise and disseminate information. Several dozen tweeters were arrested following the protests, according to local media reports. Erdogan responded by calling the technology a "menace". "There is now a menace which is called Twitter," Erdogan said. "The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society," BBC New reported.
Vladimir Astapkovich/RIA Novosti via Getty Images
4/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes
Not helping to allay accusations of authoritarianism, after Turkish police detained 49 people, including well-known business people and those close to the ruling party, Erdeogan ominously told reporter that Turkey "is not a banana republic" that can be affected by unnamed "operations", according to Today's Zaman newspaper. “People who are backed by the media and certain funders cannot change this country," he said. "People backed by certain dark gangs both inside and outside Turkey cannot mess with the country's path. They cannot change conditions in Turkey. Turkey is not a country that anyone can launch an operation into. The [Turkish] nation will not allow that. The [ruling Justice and Development Party] AK Party, which is governing this nation, will not allow this." "Those people, if they are confident, they should run in the elections and deal with the nation. We will not permit those people to have the reckoning they want outside the polls. Turkey is not a banana republic.”
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
5/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes
Friends and relatives of the miners who died in an explosion at the Soma mine are pictured praying following the burial in Soma cemetery of the last body to be recovered from the mine in May 2014. At the time, the then-Prime Minister badly misjudged the Soma mining disaster, in which 301 workers died. He told the relatives of dead and dying miners that "these types of incidents are ordinary things", following allegations that the government had ignored safety concerns about the privately owned mine, the Guardian reported. In his defence, Erdogan recounted in a separate speech a list of mining disasters which occurred abroad, including a British disaster in 1862, and one in America "which has every kind of technology".
Oli Scarff/Getty Images
6/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes
Palestinians pictured attending Friday noon prayers in a destroyed mosque that was hit by Israeli strikes, in Gaza City. As Prime Minister, Erdogan has condemned Israel, accusing it of deliberately killing Palestinian mothers and warned that the it would "drown in the blood it sheds." Speaking to thousands of supporters during a rally in Istanbul ahead of the 10 August election, Reuters reported him as saying: "Just like Hitler, who sought to establish a race free of all faults, Israel is chasing after the same target." "They kill women so that they will not give birth to Palestinians; they kill babies so that they won't grow up; they kill men so they can't defend their country ... They will drown in the blood they shed," he said.
7/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes
Amid the worst protests in Turkey for years which had spread across dozens of cities last June, Erdogan accused demonstrators of being "arm-in-arm with terrorism," according to Reuters. A demonstration to halt construction in a park in an Istanbul square grew into mass protests against a heavy-handed police crackdown and what opponents called Erdogan's authoritarian policies. "This is a protest organized by extremist elements," Erdogan said before departing on a trip to North Africa. "We will not give away anything to those who live arm-in-arm with terrorism," he said.
Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images
8/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes
In March 2014, Erdogan accused a 15-year-old boy who died from injuries sustained in last year's anti-government protests of being linked to terrorism. Berkin Elvan, who became a symbol of anti-government protests, had gone to pick up bread when he was hit with a teargas canister - sending him into a nine-month coma before he passed away, BBC News reported. Following his death, riot police used water cannon, tear gas and rubber pellets to disperse tens of thousands of protesters who took to the streets of Turkey's largest cities chanting “Everywhere is Berkin, everywhere is resistance.” In a speech broadcast on state TV, Erdogan said of Berkin: "This kid with steel marbles in his pockets, with a slingshot in his hand, his face covered with a scarf, who had been taken up into terror organisations, was unfortunately subjected to pepper gas. “How could the police determine how old that person was who had a scarf on his face and was hurling steel marbles with a slingshot in his hand?”
ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images
After extending an invite to the German Embassy in Turkey to view it on Twitter, Extra 3’s Facebook page shared an image of the request to stop showing the clip under the caption “Erdogan’s idea of ‘TV on demand’”.
The controversy appears to be increasing the popularity of the video on YouTube, which has been watched almost half a million times.
“That the Turkish government apparently has taken diplomatic action...is not compatible with our understanding of freedom of the press and opinion,” Andreas Cichowicz, the chief editor of NDR television told German news agency DPA.
The German Federation of Journalists' chairman, Frank Überall, said that Mr Erdogan had “apparently has lost his grip.”
He dismissed Turkey’s indignation is “laughable” but said people shouldn't overlook the fact that “the persecution of critical journalists is bitter reality” in the country.
More than 1,800 cases have been opened against people accused of insulting Mr Erdogan since he came into office in 2014, under a previously seldom-used law that bars insults to the president.
Those who have gone on trial include celebrities, journalists and even schoolchildren.
The German government did not comment on the dispute.
Additional reporting by AP
- More about:
- Recep Tayyip Erdogan
- President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
- Freedom of expression