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Report: Turkey summons German ambassador

Lewis Sanders IVMarch 29, 2016

German public broadcaster NDR has broadcast a sardonic song criticizing the Turkish president. Despite a worrying crackdown on dissidents and dwindling press freedom, Berlin continues to support Ankara.

Erdogan speaking at a podium
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Presidential Press Office

Turkey's Foreign Ministry summoned German Ambassador Martin Erdmann on March 22 over a satirical song aired on public broadcaster NDR's "Extra 3" program, according to information obtained by widely-read German magazine "Spiegel Online."

The song's music video, titled "Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan," juxtaposes images of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with footage of police cracking down on protesters.

The lyrics lash out at Turkey's tight grip on the press, saying: "A journalist that writes something that doesn't suit Erdogan is in jail tomorrow."

NDR's "Extra 3" has criticized the Turkish president in the past. In 2014, the program aired "A song for Erdogan" that interlaced footage of security forces beating demonstrators, rallies for Erdogan's AKP party and protests against Turkey targeting journalists.

German-Turkish relations

Historically, Turkey and Germany have shared strong diplomatic relations. In the 1960s and 70s, the large-scale migration of Turks to Germany under a government agreement made them the largest ethnic minority group in the EU member state.

Despite Turkey's crackdown on dissidents and journalists, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in October that Germany supported restarting negotiations for Turkey's accession to the EU during a visit to Ankara.

Earlier this month, the EU and Ankara finalized an agreement to stem the migration flow from Turkey to the bloc via the Aegean Sea in exchange for opening a new chapter of the accession process, visa liberalization and three billion euros ($3.36 billion) in aid. The agreement was championed by several EU leaders, including Merkel.