15:26 GMT +323 February 2019
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    German Foreign Ministry Warns German Tourists Against Criticizing Erdogan

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    Following the scandal over a satirical poem about Erdogan, the German authorities advised citizens to refrain from negative comments about Turkey and its government when traveling to the country.

    On April 19, the German Foreign Ministry issued special recommendations for German tourists in Turkey, advising them to avoid reckless statements about Turkish officials, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    The recommendations have been released on the official website of the German Foreign Ministry.

    "It is strongly advised not to make any public political statements criticizing the Turkish state and express sympathy with terrorist organizations," the section "Special criminal provisions" said.

    Some experts have linked these recommendations to the scandal over the satirical poem about Erdogan, performed by German satirist Jan Böhmermann on a TV show on the German TV Channel ZDF.

    The poem contained offensive wordings and accused Erdogan of violating freedom of speech as well as the rights of minorities and the opposition.

    The German government has officially authorized the start of a criminal probe into Böhmermann's case, after Ankara demanded the prosecution of the journalist on charges of "insulting governmental institutions or representatives of another state".

    Meanwhile, the German Foreign Ministry said that the recommendations on its website are not related to this incident and have been developed long before it.

    The recommendations also warned German tourists against purchasing and exporting antiquities (stones, coins, fossils and ancient-looking objects) as they may fall under the definition "cultural and natural heritage" and be considered as state property. The export of antiquities is punishable with high fines or with a 10-year prison sentence.


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    tourists, freedom of speech, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Germany, Turkey
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