But she didn’t. Instead, she outsourced free speech to Turkey’s wannabe caliph Tayyip Erdogan. With a new GESTAPO regime run by Anetta Kahane, who between 1974 and 1982 worked for the Stasi under the code name ‘Victoria,’ and Justice Minister Heiko Maas, (an equally sinister creature) authorised to crack down on those citizens who criticise the Islamisation of Europe, this is another nail in the coffin of Western civilisation. Most surprising is that is printed in al AGE:
Erdogan is now silencing his critics in Germany – and it’s no joke
by Boris Johnson
Angela Merkel is cynically sucking up to Turkey’s president and undermining free speech with her outrageous response to a silly joke.
Illustration: John Spooner
Love is a many splendoured thing. Cupid’s darts find the most unexpected targets. I am not for one minute prepared to exclude the possibility that erotic interest may flower between a man and a goat. The ancient Greeks clearly thought about the possibility: hence their mythologising about Pan and satyrs and other cloven-footed hybrids.
A cursory trawl of the internet reveals – according to the BBC – that in 2006 a Sudanese man called Tombe was surprised in the act in the dark with a female goat and was obliged by village elders to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars to its owner, and then to marry the beast. To the best of my knowledge, they are still together.
But I don’t think there is anyone of any importance who seriously believes there has been any kind of romance involving the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and any non-human mammal, caprine or otherwise.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a joint press conference on April 15. Photo: AP
So, when a young German comedian called the Turkish leader a “goat ——-“, in a little-watched broadcast on March 31, you might have thought that the best response – from Turkey’s point of view – was a dignified silence. Yes, I suppose it was puerile. And yes, I accept that it was not in especially good taste. But it was what we call a joke. It is utterly bewildering – and slightly shocking – that the Turkish leader has failed to see this.
The episode has, as they say, got his goat, and he has deployed all Turkey’s diplomatic and political weight in an effort to persecute the satirist, 35-year-old TV host Jan Boehmermann. He and the Turkish government have officially demanded that the presenter should be prosecuted for lese-majeste – in this case causing offence to the leader of a foreign state – under an all-but defunct statute that dates to 1871 and the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm I.
Incredible though it may seem, the journalist could face five years in jail. But what is truly incredible – indeed, what is positively sickening – is that the German government has agreed at the express request of Angela Merkel that the prosecution should go ahead.
In happier times, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet at the Yildiz Palace in Istanbul in 2015. Photo: Getty Images
She could have said no. The matter was entirely at her discretion. Plenty of German politicians were telling her that any such legal action would be an outrageous infringement of free speech – an act of censorship that smacked of some of the darkest moments in Germany’s 20th century history.
And yet she numbly decided to kowtow to the demands of Erdogan, a man who is engaged in a chilling suppression of Turkish freedom of expression. Erdogan only became president 18 months ago, and yet in that time prosecutors have opened 1845 cases against people accused of insulting him, including a doctor who posted a picture of Erdogan on social media, next to a picture of Lord of the Rings character Gollum.
It is no use saying the case against Boehmermann is an obvious dud, or that it will be thrown out by the German court. Think of the impact in Turkey. Imagine how you would feel if you were a Turkish journalist, worried about what you could say, and you saw Merkel – the leader of the most populous and richest country in the EU – cravenly siding with the whim of an autocrat.
You would feel alone, frightened that even Germany was unwilling to stick up for you; and you would be right. Everyone knows why she has done it. Everyone knows why Merkel is so cynically and so desperately determined to appease the Turkish leader – or at least to do nothing to irritate him; and that is because in the next few weeks and months we could have another migration crisis in the eastern Mediterranean.
We all know the original problem was exacerbated by Germany’s open-door policy. Merkel presented herself as a kind of EU Statue of Liberty, and the result was a pull factor that brought migrants flooding to Germany and other countries, via Turkey, on a scale not seen for decades. And now a deal has been done – a fragile deal by which Turkey agrees to take back refugees from Greece, in exchange for cash and renewed promises of EU membership.
But it is Turkey’s hand on the tap. Erdogan, if he chooses, can allow the trickle to turn back into a flood – with devastating consequences not just for Merkel, but for the whole project of EU integration. The British referendum is on a knife edge. All the usual suspects are out there, trying to confuse the British public, and to persuade them that they must accept the accelerating loss of democratic self-government as the price of economic prosperity.
We have heard from the IMF (which got the Asian crisis completely wrong), and the banks, all of which were wrong about the euro. The kind of people whose club-class air tickets are paid by the taxpayer, all the lobbyists and corporate affairs directors of the big companies: they are all increasingly nervous that they have been rumbled, that Britain could have a glorious future outside the EU.
There is one event in the next few weeks that could remind people of at least one salient point in this debate, – that Britain has lost control of its frontiers – and that is another migration crisis on the borders of the EU, and within the EU itself. That is one reason why it is essential for Merkel to suck up to Erdogan. That is why this egregious prosecution has drawn not a peep from Britain.
No one believes that Erdogan is a goat fancier or that muffled baa-ing is to be heard from the presidential suite in Ankara. But in a free and pluralist society there is no reason why a self-professed satirist should not make a joke about it. The process of EU integration means the wholesale erosion of democracy, and it would seem that protecting that process means the erosion of free speech as well. The whole thing is infamous.
Boris Johnson is a British politician and columnist for The Daily Telegraph.