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Germany: 'Press freedom is non-negotiable' amid diplomatic row over Erdogan satire

Germany has defended its stance on freedom of expression after its ambassador to Turkey was summoned. The song "Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan" laments the Turkish president's crackdown on the press.

A protester in Berlin holding a sign that says: Press freedom is a fundamental right

A protester in Berlin holding a sign that says: "Press freedom is a fundamental right"

Responding to questions concerning Turkey's summoning of a German diplomat last week, a government spokeswoman on Wednesday said German-Turkish relations would not impact the nation's stance on freedom of expression.

"(It has been) made clear that despite all the interests Germany and Turkey share, the view on press freedom, freedom of expression is non-negotiable for us," said deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz during a press conference.

The statement comes after German news outlet "Spiegel Online" published a report that the Turkish foreign ministry summoned German Ambassador Martin Erdmann on March 22 to complain about a satirical song aired on public broadcaster NDR's "Extra 3" program.

The song's music video, titled "Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan," shows images of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan juxtaposed with footage of police beating protesters.

The lyrics lambast Turkey's crackdown on the press, stating: "A journalist that writes something that doesn't suit Erdogan is in jail tomorrow."

Turkey has come under increased scrutiny for its crackdown on the press, with Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranking it 149 out of 180 countries on its 2015 Press Freedom Index.

"The rule of law, the independence of the justice system and the protection of basic freedoms, including freedom of the press and speech are important commodities that we must all protect together," Germany's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday confirming their ambassador to Turkey had been summoned.

Watch video 02:20

Germans show solidarity with Turkish press

ls/kms (Reuters, dpa)

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