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Lawyer to file complaint in German probe over Erdogan poem

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2016 file photo TV comic Jan Boehmermann arrives for the German TV awards in Duesseldorf, Germany. German prosecutors said Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, they have dropped an investigation of Boehmermann who wrote a crude poem about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, citing insufficient evidence that he committed any crime. (Henning Kaiser/dpa via AP, file)
October 05, 2016 - 10:18 AM

BERLIN - A lawyer for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday he will challenge a decision by German prosecutors to drop an investigation of a TV comic who wrote a crude poem about the president.

Erdogan's lawyer, Michael-Hubertus von Sprenger, told The Associated Press that he would file a complaint objecting to the decision on the president's behalf, but he didn't say when it would be filed.

Comic Jan Boehmermann's ditty described the Turkish leader as "stupid, cowardly and uptight" and contained crude sexual references.

Prosecutors dropped their investigation of Boehmermann on Tuesday, citing insufficient evidence that he committed a crime.

"If a joke triggers a state crisis, it's not the problem of the joke, but that of the state," Boehmermann said in a statement posted on YouTube Wednesday.

He added that "in comparison to what critical journalists, comedians and members of the opposition are going through in Turkey back then and especially right now, this whole drama about the 'Boehmermann affair' has already become one big, sad joke."

Chancellor Angela Merkel in April granted a Turkish request to allow the possible prosecution of the comedian for insulting a foreign head of state. German law required the government to give permission before prosecutors could consider charges.

The decision to allow Boehmermann's possible prosecution was awkward for Merkel as she sought Ankara's help in reducing Europe's migrant influx but also expressed concern about the state of media freedom in Turkey.

In granting her fellow leader's request, she underlined the independence of the judiciary and said her government plans to repeal the German law criminalizing insults of a foreign head of state.

In a separate civil case, a Hamburg court in May granted an injunction ordering Boehmermann not to repeat most of the offending poem. A full hearing on that case is due in November.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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