11:46 GMT +322 May 2019
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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, centre, accompanied by Turkish Forces' Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, left, reviews a honour guard Thursday Feb. 18, 2016

    Getting in Line? Europeans ‘Insult Erdogan in the Name of Free Speech’

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    Attempts by the Turkish president to stop criticism in his address both within the country and abroad have led to a result that Erdogan was hardly expecting.

    Erdogan has been struggling to limit freedom of expression in Turkey since he came to power, but he still could not understand that his struggle is in vain. Ankara has recently taken new steps to put pressure on critics in recent Turkish censorship which not only intensified censorship in Turkey but also in the EU, according to newspaper Al-Monitor.

    “Erdogan’s wrath for those satirizing him has reached new heights and gone international. Using an obscure law, Erdogan recently brought charges in Germany against comedian Jan Boehmermann for insulting him in a poem,” the publication wrote.

    Having found a suitable article in German legislation, the Turkish government sent a note to Berlin, demanding they start the criminal prosecution of the broadcaster in connection with the violation of section 103 of the Criminal Code of Germany “Insulting officials and representatives of foreign countries.”

    Experts believe that the case with Boehmermann will backfire on the Turkish president. Judging by the latest trends, it is already happening, the newspaper wrote.

    Last week, John Murray, one of the authors of the British magazine The Spectator, announced a competition for "The President Erdogan Offensive Poetry Competition" last week.

    “He added that a generous reader was offering a 1,000-pound award ($1,460) for the rudest and crudest limerick. Murray submitted his own limerick, which lives up to his bill, and in a subsequent article he said that the magazine had been flooded with entries, expressing surprise at the high number of submissions in Arabic.”

    Erdogan's actions provoked a wave of negativity and now “people and the media throughout Europe are lining up to insult the Turkish President in the name of freedom of speech,” the newspaper reported.

    Unaware to the blowback, Ankara is now taking steps that are likely to further aggravate the situation to Erdogan’s disadvantage. “For example, a circular by the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam that calls on Turks to report compatriots who insult Erdogan has caused uproar in the Netherlands.”

    Erdogan is pushing for the Dutch comedian Hans Teeuwen to be tried for insulting him in a comic sketch. This will further anger the Dutch, whose annoyance already increased after Ebru Umar, a Dutch journalist whose mother is Turkish, was arrested in Turkey this week for insulting Erdogan, the publication wrote.

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    Tags:
    Freedom of Press, satire, prosecution, censorship, European Union, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey
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