The Turkish consulate in the Netherlands is telling Turks to report any insults they hear about the Turkish President.
The Turkish government is currently embroiled in a debate about free speech in Germany. German comedian Jan Böhmermann mocked Turkish president Tayyip Erdoğan in a broadcast on his ZDF programme Neo Magazin Royale.
In a poem Bohmermann slammed Erdoğan for his human rights record and tried deliberately to be as offensive as possible saying the Turkish president, “fuck goats and suppress minorities, kick Kurds, hit Christians, and watch child pornography.”
The reaction from Ankara was one of extreme anger and Turkey called on Germany to prosecute the comedian under an old German law that forbids any German citizen from insulting the head of state of a foreign country.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been heavily criticized by the world press and by her own citizens as polls have shown an overwhelming support for dropping the charges on the comedian. The German president Joachim Gauck has even come out to say that the law should be gotten rid of entirely.
The Turkish consulate in Rotterdam has taken the decision of Merkel to prosecute as a green light to inform Turks in the Netherlands that they can also report any insults made to the Turkish president, reports Spiegel Online. The consulate sent emails to various Turkish groups in the country telling them to immediately report anything they think is insulting on social media directly to them.
The reaction of the Dutch government to the news was anger. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that he was, “not clear what the aim of the Turkish government is with this approach,” and added that he was very surprised by the move. The ambassador to Turkey in Ankara has also said he will seek more information from the Turkish government as to what they are trying to achieve in the Netherlands.
The consulate refused to speak to German media but are said to be trying to appease the Dutch government following their outrage over the emails. They have told officials that the emails came from an employee who had an “unfortunate choice of words,” and that the whole thing was really just a misunderstanding.
Censorship in Turkey is a very common occurrence for journalists who are critical of the President and his regime.
Two Turkish journalists were facing life sentences on charges of terror and espionage because they had reported that the Islamist rebels were receiving shipments of arms and supplies directly from Turkey. Even after a court had cleared the two journalists of the charges Erdoğan was defiant and said, “I’m not in a position to agree with this decision.
“I’m saying this very clearly: I don’t concur with the decision and I have no respect for it.”