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    A combination of pictures shows German Chancellor Merkel and German comedian Boehmermann.

    Freedom Uber Alles: Merkel Admits Mistake in Erdogan-Bohmermann Poetry Row

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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has admitted to making a mistake in her handling of the Jan Bohmermann affair, Tagesschau reported.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted on Friday that she made a mistake in her handling of the Jan Bohmermann affair, when she referred to the satirist's poem about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as "deliberately hurtful."

    On March 31 German satirist Jan Bohmermann broadcast a sexually explicit satirical poem about President Erdogan during his comedy show on German public broadcaster ZDF, called "Defamatory Poem." 

    Following the broadcast the Turkish President pressed charges against Bohmermann for insulting him as a foreign head of state, which is possible according to section 103 of Germany's criminal code. 

    This combo made with file pictures shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) in Lima on February 2, 2016 and German TV comedian Jan Böhmermann on February 22, 2012 in Berlin
    © AP Photo / SEBASTIAN CASTAÑEDA, Britta PEDERSEN / AFP dpa
    This combo made with file pictures shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) in Lima on February 2, 2016 and German TV comedian Jan Böhmermann on February 22, 2012 in Berlin
    Though the German government has since committed to removing the little-used paragraph during the course of the current parliament, Merkel nevertheless decided to allow the investigation against Bohmermann to proceed in spite of the advice of members of Germany's coalition government such as Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Justice Minister Heiko Maas.

    ​"Legally it is not for the government but for the prosecutors and courts to balance the right to privacy and other concerns regarding the press and artistic freedom," she said, explaining the controversial decision.

    In a telephone call with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on April 4 the Chancellor said that she agreed with Davutoglu that the poem was "a deliberately hurtful text" about the Turkish President, a government spokesman said.

    Tagesschau reported that following another meeting with Davutoglu on Friday, Merkel said that her decision to allow Bohmermann to face prosecution was the right one, but that she chose the wrong words to describe his poem.

    "Something that bothers me personally about recent days is that on April 4 I called this (Bohmermann's poem) 'deliberately hurtful,' which gave the impression that in this case my personal values count for something," the Chancellor said.

    "In hindsight that was a mistake and it led to the impression and perhaps the thought that freedom of opinion and press freedom are not important any more, and these are important to me and they will remain important, and that guides me in all discussions."

    "Human rights, the right to freedom, freedom of the press are essential values," Merkel said.

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    poet, satire, poetry, Jans Bohmermann, Angela Merkel, Recep Tayyip Erdogan
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