Poem smearing Turkish President Erdogan banned by German court

Jan Böhmermann featuring on the cover of Der Spiegel.

German TV comedian Jan Bohmermann has been barred from repeating many passages of a poem smearing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by a Hamburg civil court which deemed it defamatory.

While the Turkish President had sought to ban the poem completely and bring Bohmermann before the courts under a criminal case for an offence against a sovereign or a state, the Hamburg court settled for a ban on publicly reciting 18 out of 24 lines of the poem.

“The Bohmermann Affair” sparked controversy last year and Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised the poem as “intentionally hurtful” after she had spoken to Ahmet Davutoglu, the Prime Minister of Turkey at the time. The decision by the German Chancellor to approve a criminal prosecution of Bohmermann was met with wide criticism from the German public and from the international press.