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EU rebukes Turkey over satire row

March 30, 2016

Germany and the EU have asked Ankara to desist from curtailing free speech after it protested a political satire video released in Germany. The video was critical of Turkish President Erdogan's governing style.

Image: YouTube/NDR/extra 3

Turkey urged to uphold free speech

"I think we can expect (this) from a partner nation of the EU, especially when we are currently opening further accession chapters and intend to discuss them," German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier told reporters during an official trip to Uzbekistan.

Controversy erupted between the two countries last week after German public broadcaster NDR aired a two-minute video, set to a popular tune and criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's latest crackdowns on freedom of expression, protest marches and the Kurdish ethnicity in his country.

An angry Turkish administration summoned German Ambassador Martin Erdmann to lodge its protest.

In his speech on Wednesday, Steinmeier refuted the opposition's claim that Germany had kept quiet about the problem because of Turkey's important role in taking back refugees coming to Europe. "That is just not true," he said, adding that Germany's Ambassador to Ankara, Erdmann, as well as other high-ranking state officials had communicated Berlin's opinion on the issue in Turkey.

The European Commission's head, Jean-Claude Juncker, also protested the summons, saying that Turkey had only succeeded in further distancing itself from the EU.

Turkey is currently engaged in discussions to accede into the EU. The country is also an important ally of the bloc in resolving the refugee crisis, with an important deal on migrants to be implemented on Monday.

mg/jr (AFP, dpa)

Turkey urged to uphold free speech