German satirist Jan Boehmermann is taking Chancellor Angela Merkel to court over her assessment of a 2016 poem he read out on television mocking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Berlin administrative court spokesman said on Tuesday.
Boehmermann has brought the case against the chancellor’s office in relation to a phone call Merkel conducted with Ahmet Davutoglu, who was Turkish prime minister at the time, after Erdogan had initiated legal action against the satirist.
Merkel’s spokesman, reporting back on the conversation, said the chancellor had termed Boehmermann’s poem “deliberately insulting.”
Merkel later described the statement as a mistake.
Boehmermann is demanding that Merkel be restrained from repeating the words “deliberately insulting” in this context.
If this fails, he demands that the assessment presented by Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, be ruled illegal.
Hearing Erdogan’s case against Boehmermann, under legislation protecting foreign heads of state from insult, a Hamburg court ruled in February 2017 that certain verses could not be repeated in public.
However, it did not ban the entire poem, as demanded by Erdogan’s lawyers.
Boehmermann intends to fight the Hamburg court ruling, which was made under a law that was removed from Germany’s criminal code at the start of 2018 after public debate on the issue and its implications for freedom of speech.
The Berlin court spokesman said a ruling in the current case brought by Boehmermann was expected on April 16.
“Merkel is not expected to appear but will be represented by her lawyer,’’ he said. (dpa/NAN)