German prosecutors close investigation into alleged insult of Turkey's Erdogan by comedian

German prosecutors said on Oct 4, 2016 they have scrapped an investigation into comedian Jan Boehmermann (right) for allegedly insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left).
German prosecutors said on Oct 4, 2016 they have scrapped an investigation into comedian Jan Boehmermann (right) for allegedly insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left).PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (AFP) - German prosecutors said on Tuesday (Oct 4) they have scrapped an investigation into a TV comedian for allegedly insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as the satire was so exaggerated it could not be taken seriously.

"The results of the investigation show that criminal acts could not be proven," prosecutors said in a statement, adding that they were therefore halting the probe into Mr Jan Boehmermann, whose "Defamatory Poem" had unleashed a row between Germany and Turkey.

During the March 31 broadcast on public television, Mr Boehmermann recited the piece accusing Mr Erdogan of bestiality and paedophilia with a broad grin, and admitted that it flouted Germany's legal limits to free speech and was intended as a provocation.

The comedian was reacting to Ankara's decision to summon Germany's ambassador in protest at another satirical song broadcast on German TV which lampooned Mr Erdogan in far tamer language.

But Mr Boehmermann's piece did not go down well in Ankara and prompted Mr Erdogan to file a criminal complaint.

Chancellor Angela Merkel in April authorised the probe into whether the comic could be convicted under rarely enforced lese majeste legislation - a decision that earned her sharp rebuke at home from human rights groups.

In a statement outlining the grounds for dropping the case, prosecutors in the western city of Mainz noted that the "piece was part of a well-known satirical television broadcast, and that an average TV audience should therefore assume that statements made there are often accompanied by exaggerations which often lack seriousness".

Mr Boehmermann himself has defined TV shows such as his as a "nonsense programme", they said.

"In view of the exaggerations... there is no evidence that the accused was making a serious attack on the personal or social reputation of the Turkish president," prosecutors concluded.