16:47 GMT04 March 2021
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    Germany's ZDF TV Channel removed a satirical poem performed by German satirist and journalist Jan Böhmermann in his show from its multimedia library.

    Böhmermann harshly criticized the Turkish President using offensive phrases such as "President with a small d*ck" and "Most of all he likes to f*ck goats and suppress minorities."

    The removal of the video raised heavy debate among politicians and the country's residents whether the move was justified or it violated the freedom of press. Expert on Turkey and the Middle East Gülistan Gürbey commented on the issue in an interview with Sputnik.

    "In my opinion, this is wrong. The point here is freedom of expression and opinion. It is a value, the basis of our democratic order. This step is absolutely contrary to it. It is unacceptable that such a step is taken under pressure from the Turkish President and the Turkish authorities," Gürbey said.

    According to the expert, the situation in Turkey with respect to freedom of speech is tragic. The government is suppressing almost any critical voice. Gürbey views the fact that Erdogan's policy affects Germany as unacceptable.

    "If we consistently adhere to the principle of freedom of expression, we should be able to accept the fact that the criticism can be expressed in this [satirical] way, too. The reaction of the Turkish side is exaggerated," the expert claimed.

    Commenting on the fact that even German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her disagreement with such a harsh way to criticize Turkey, Gürbey said that the German leader has to "smooth the situation" in the context of the current migration crisis and recent Turkey-EU deal.

    In late March, Ankara and Brussels reached a deal to curb the so-called Balkan route used by migrants to travel through Greece and Macedonia to wealthier EU states. Under the deal, Turkey pledged to take back all migrants who arrive in the European Union illegally through its border and send legal Syrian refugees to the bloc on a one-for-one basis.


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