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.
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
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