Reuters International

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during his meeting with mukhtars at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, March 16, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTSAPAZ


BERLIN (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has filed a complaint against a comedian who recited a satirical poem about him on German national television, German prosecutors said in a statement.

The public prosecutor's office in the western city of Mainz said Erdogan had filed the complaint against Jan Boehmermann via a law firm for insulting him. Boehmermann is the host of the late-night "Neo Magazin Royale" on the public ZDF channel.

In a programme broadcast on March 31, Boehmermann had recited a poem about Erdogan that contained crude sexual references and accusations that Erdogan repressed minorities and mistreated Kurds and Christians.

Before reading it, Boehmermann referred to a satirical song broadcast on NDR television that had mocked Erdogan for his authoritarian treatment of journalists. That show led Turkey to call in Germany's envoy to provide an explanation, although Germany rejected Turkish protests.

Boehmermann said the NDR broadcast fell under the right to artistic freedom, press freedom and freedom of opinion and said his poem was an example of impermissible "abusive criticism".

Prosecutors said Erdogan's complaint would be examined as part of a pending procedure. They had already begun investigating Boehmermann on suspicion of the crime of "offending foreign states' organs and representatives" after more than 20 people filed complaints.

On Monday, Germany said it was examining a formal request made by Turkey for it to prosecute Boehmermann.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Matthew Lewis)


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