Photo by Teunie (CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia)
It's been a week now and Turkish President Recep Erdogan still hasn't presented any evidence that he's never fucked a goat. Or sucked off a hundred sheep. Or kicked Kurds while watching child porn. Or that his dick hasn't burned when he peed after a gang-bang party. He hasn't even denied it. Well, not publicly anyway. He did get a phone call from Angela Merkel, in which I hope the German chancellor sought assurances that none of the above has ever happened. I mean, what do I pay my taxes for?
Germany really needs to look at its censorship laws. TV satire in this country is rarely funny, but sometimes it's quite clever and Jan Böhmermann's segment is pretty good. Böhmermann read the poem (see below) during his weekly TV comedy show Neo Magazin Royale on ZDFneo, and now potentially faces jail time for breaking Germany's defamation laws. The Turkish government has already filed charges, which state prosecutors are now obliged to assess. Merkel was being deliberately obfuscating when she put out a statement last Monday that said Böhmermann's rude poem about Erdogan was "consciously offensive". Anyone could see that that was the joke. The title of it was "Defamation Poem", and Böhmermann explained pretty clearly on the show that it was an example of what you definitely can't do under German law. This is why the German government's reaction was so cowardly – defending Extra 3's "clever" "Erdowo" song (which also pissed off Erdogan enough), but then condemning Böhmermann's poem – which was much ruder but also cleverer.
It is a key tenet of democracy that you can accuse a political leader (and especially a vicious dictator like Erdogan) of fucking goats on a comedy show. And really, Erdogan should be able to manage. If David Cameron can go through "pig-gate" then Erdogan can cope with someone saying he sucks off sheep. Seeing as it won't stop him bombing Kurds and helping Isis and allowing his police to beat up women in the street, he should just be grateful that Merkel's government is so weak and desperate that this is the most resistance he's encountering.
Anyway, ZDF really did delete the clip from its Mediathek, and released a statement that said that Böhmermann's poem "crossed the boundaries" of "irony and satire". It's also been removed from YouTube. But you can download the clip here.
And for what it's worth, here's my translation of the poem. I didn't always preserve the rhyme so I could stick as close to the original text as possible - but the whole thing works better in the context of the show.
Defamation Poem, by Jan Böhmermann
Stupid as fuck, cowardly and uptight,
Is Erdogan, the president,
His gob smells of bad döner, (even clever German satirists are a bit racist)
Even a pig's fart smells better,
He's the man who hits girls,
While wearing a rubber mask,
But goat-fucking he likes the best,
And having minorities repressed,
While watching kiddie porn,
And even at night, instead of sleep,
It's time for fellatio with a hundred sheep,
Yep, Erdogan is definitely
The president with a tiny dick,
Every Turk will tell you all,
The stupid fool has wrinkly balls,
From Ankara to Istanbul,
They all know the man is gay,
Perverted, louse-infested, a zoophile,
Recep Fritzl Priklopil
Head as empty as his balls,
Of every gang-bang party he's the star,
Till his cock burns when he has a piss,
That's Recep Erdogan,
The Turkish president.