Turkey

Calling a Politician, Any Politician, a "GoatF**ker" Is Free Speech

Turkish President Erdo?an Seeks to Get German Government to Shut Up His Critics

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ErdoganGoatFucker
RL Oppenheimer

German authorities are prosecuting satirist Jan Böhmermann for reading aloud on television a profane poem in which he called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an "the man who beats girls", and added that he loved to "fuck goats and suppress minorities, kick Kurds, hit Christians, and watch child pornography." Böhmermann's poem was provoked by the Turkish government's protest of a song critical of Erdo?an that had aired two weeks earlier on the German political satire TV show extra 3. In total contravention of free speech, Germany outlaws "abusive criticism" (Schmähkritik) of a foreign state leader. Böhmermann's poem was deliberately meant to test the line between legal free speech and illegal "abusive criticism."

The Turkish government pressed for Böhmermann to be prosecuted and, to her shame, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has allowed the court proceedings to go forward.

Now the New York Times is reporting that Erdo?an is trying to use the same law to silence another prominent figure, Mathias Döpfner, the chief executive of the media firm Axel Springer, who has published an open letter in defense of Böhmermann. The Times reports:

Mr. Döpfner wrote an open letter to Mr. Böhmermann on April 10 that said he was willing to defend the comedian's every word in the name of Germany's tradition of "freedom of expression, art and satire."

That public show of support for one of Mr. Erdogan's critics further angered the Turkish leader, who this week won a preliminary injunction against the filmmaker Uwe Boll, for criticizing Mr. Erdogan in a video posted online.

Ralf Höcker, a lawyer representing Mr. Erdogan in Germany, said he had a mandate to seek an injunction against anyone who publicly insults the Turkish president, to try to stop what he described as an "avalanche" of scornful abuse.

"Everyone thinks they are allowed to insult Mr. Erdogan in any way that they want because they do not find him very sympathetic," Mr. Höcker said. "But this is not about sympathy, it is about human dignity, namely to protect it." …

"Our intention is to stop this unbridled online lynch mob," Mr. Höcker said. "Everyone has lost all restraint and believes they can do as they please. We intend to stop this."

Give it a try, Herr Höcker.

Meanwhile, the good news is that "the Cologne state court upheld Mr. Döpfner's right to freedom of expression, saying his comments were 'a contribution to building public opinion in a controversial debate.'"

Of course Erdo?an is vigorously seeking to shut up critics at home. As the Times reported in March:

Since August 2014, 1,845 criminal cases have been opened against Turks for insulting their president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a crime that carries a penalty of up to four years in prison. Among the offenders are journalists, authors, politicians, a famous soccer star, even schoolchildren.

It is also relevant that Erdo?an's government has periodically banned social media such as Facebook, Youtube and Twitter over reporting news it would rather not have its citizens hear about.

NEXT: Where Will Opioid Panic Lead? How About Regulating Your Access to Diarrhea Medication?

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  1. *joke about the Welsh*

    1. Harrumph.

      1. Not enough phlegm to be a Welsh word, close though. Add more disjointed consonants.

        1. “rhywun”

          1. Pronounced, based on Welsh spelling conventions, “Phillip.”

            1. Welsh is nothing compared to Irish.

              1. Yeah, Welsh spelling is actually almost perfectly representative of its pronunciation. Maybe X is just playing on the fact that some of those conventions are a bit unusual.

                And you’re right – Irish is spelling is completely nuts. Much like English, where it is virtually impossible to guess how to pronounce a word from the way it is written.

        2. Blackadder: Have you ever been to Wales, Baldrick?
          Baldrick: No, but I’ve often thought I’d like to.
          Blackadder: Well don’t. It’s a ghastly place. Huge gangs of tough, sinewy men roam the Valleys, terrorizing people with their close-harmony singing. You need half a pint of phlegm in your throat just to pronounce the place names. Never ask for directions in Wales, Baldrick. You’ll be washing spit out of your hair for a fortnight.

    2. This is about goats, not sheep. We Welsh are avid about ovines. The Scottish are the capricious caprine cavorters.

      1. Taffy was a liar, Taffy was a thief…

        1. I assume you’re ready to complete that recitation with the traditional beating with a leek?

          1. Why would I waste a perfectly good leek?

  2. “Calling a Politician, Any Politician, A “GoatF**ker” Is Free Speech”

    Not to mention accurate AF.

    1. There is pretty much no free speech in Europe any more. And the guy didn’t even make a justifiable offending speech, like calling for Erdogan to be woodchipped.

      1. Should work on Google-bombing so that the first return for “President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an ” is “Goat fucker”.

  3. Erdo?an is trying to use the same law to silence another prominent figure

    There’s a lesson in all of this somewhere for people who think this sort of thing isn’t the default through almost all of human civilization.

  4. what about say, uhh, hypothetically speaking and in no way relating to the real world, calling someone a sheepfucker?

    *ahem*

    I’m Alan on that.

    1. But you fuck just one sheep…

      1. +1 rock wall
        +1 dock

    2. Do you mean — a *possible* sheepfucker?

      There’s a big difference.

  5. Vice has an article about the history of the law.

    It started with the founding of the German state, which said you couldn’t insult the king of queen of another country. Presidents and prime ministers were apparently fair game.

    The law was toughtened up after World War II, to ban insults against *any* head of state, even if that state is a republic.

    I would speculate that this was a Godwin thing – the “we’re not Nazis” generation wanted to promote world peace by locking up those who made trouble with other countries. Maybe they saw a continuum: one day you’re allowing a foreign leader to be insulted in the press, the next day you’re invading the person’s country and killing and enslaving the people.

    1. And notice this part:

      “Towards the end of her statement on B?hmermann, German chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the government considers the law under which the comedian is to be prosecuted “superfluous,” and will abolish it by 2018.”

      Shorter Merkel: “First we put you in prison, then we get rid of the law under which you were imprisoned. Sounds like a fair compromise to me.”

      1. I say, baa humbug to this law.

      2. Sounds to me like she’s saying the law is unnecessary, that they can prosecute without it, and they will, after repealing it to show how noble they are.

        1. I may have been overly optimistic.

          Lord knows I try not to be.

    2. I bet Germany will be President Trump’s first foreign visit after he is sworn in.

  6. For that region of the world, I much prefer Camel-fucker.

    1. I think Turkey is more goat country than camel country.

      On a related note, here’s a joke:

      Q: Why are camels called “ships of the desert”?
      A: Because they are full of Arab semen.

      1. Q: Why are camels called “ships of the desert”?
        A: Because they are full of Arab semen.

        Thank you for this.

      2. From camel-loving in Arabia, to the pipe-laid boys of Anatolia, all the way to the goat-pounders of the high Karakoram, there’s a lot of porn in Islam – and as anything else where Islam is somehow it’s miserable.

    2. Not everyone can afford a camel.

  7. Erdo?an is a goatfucker. Erdo?an is a goatfucker. Erdo?an is a goatfucker. I seen it!

  8. I notice the same people who have a problem with “goatfucker” have no problem with making inbred sisterfucking jokes about impoverished white people.

    1. Hey, the East Germans have come a long way.

    2. It is maddening how Europeans get all sensitive about so much dumb shit, but continue to enthusiastically call Americans a bunch of stupid inbred rednecks all the time.

      1. We are the white men of the world.

        But, fuck. Em. I don’t get pissed off when a three year old takes a swing at me.

    3. That’s because sister fucking is not an insult in Germany, as long as you pee on her first.

  9. Wouldn’t that poem be cause of a lawsuit in the US? I mean, naming someone and listing off things like that constitute liable or slander? I mean, if I stood up at the local fair and called my neighbor a pedophile and rapist by name, wouldn’t he be able to sue me?

    1. T: First, satire is protected under the lst Amendment. Second, depends to some extent on how publicly prominent your neighbor is, see New York Times v. Sullivan.

    2. “Wouldn’t that poem be cause of a lawsuit in the US? I mean, naming someone and listing off things like that constitute liable or slander? I mean, if I stood up at the local fair and called my neighbor a pedophile and rapist by name, wouldn’t he be able to sue me?”

      I believe in this case it was obvious that he was doing it to mock Erdogan for attacking free speech. No one watching could have actually thought he was literally saying Erdogan watches child porn.

      Erdogan is also a public political figure, so it would be much harder for him to win a slander case.

      1. It depends on whether it was a serious accusation or an obvious joke.

    3. You can of course sue someone for anything. Though prosecution by the govt means criminal defamation, not a lawsuit. A few states still have old laws around against criminal defamation but cases are rare. They can always go after you on some bullshit charge instead like “harassment” or something.

  10. So maybe all the rave reviews that President Obama got when he visited Germany were only because the plebes were worried about going to jail?

  11. Fuckin’ goatfuckers need to toughen up.

    1. Yeah, we’ve been handling them with kid gloves.

        1. Alternate joke: I see what ewe did there.

      1. I blame the nanny state.

  12. So no one has mentioned the Streisand effect yet?
    shakes head and walks away

    1. It’s not so much that Erdogan fucks goats. He gets fucked by goats, and likes it.

      1. He also blows ’em.

  13. “That public show of support for one of Mr. Erdogan’s critics further angered the Turkish leader, who this week won a preliminary injunction against the filmmaker Uwe Boll, for criticizing Mr. Erdogan in a video posted online.”

    Erdogan is so terrible he makes Uwe Boll look good.

  14. “In total contravention of free speech, Germany outlaws “abusive criticism” (Schm?hkritik) of a foreign state leader.”

    Not just of state leaders. In principle, of anyone. That includes restaurant and theatre critics. Public figures generally get less protection. And hate speech is a crime, captured as “Volksverhetzung” (? 130 Strafgesetzbuch. “incitement to hatred against segments of the population”, as Wikipedia puts it. — Germany’s criminal law is made at the federal level, applicable to all states.)

    1. S: I will just point to my review of Flemming Rose’s excellent The Tyranny of Silence about European free speech defense cowardice. BTW, did I mention that Rose has just won the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty.

  15. It’s why Scotland has cliffs near the sea.

    Get one of those goats to the edge of the cliff, and you’ll get all of the push back that you need.

    1. First laugh of the day. Thanks Playa.

    2. You know why scotchmen(*) wear kilts, PM? Because sheep can hear zippers.

      (*)I get a bonus because that is an un-PC term for my ancestors.

      1. *Ahem*

        Scotsmen

  16. Preet Bahara is a goat fucker.

    1. I personally saw him put a goat into a woodchipper once he was through with it. That maniacal laugh and the screams of goat-pain will haunt me for the rest of my life.

      1. And a terrible waste of yummy goat meat. Who’s up for curry?

      2. Preet says its awesome pushing goat towards woodchipper, because that’s when goat starts pushing back.

  17. Bohermann is incorrect. Erdogan’s animal of choice is obviously the pig with an occasional dog thrown into the mix. He’s a kinky rascal, that one.

  18. So, being the gatekeeper of the Muslim invasion of Europe means that Turkey makes German law.

    Neat.

  19. Let’s go easy on Frau Merkel. She is being extorted by Erdogan under threat of invasion by his Foederatti. Poor her.

  20. Wait, the law is that you cant insult foreign leaders? So it is perfectly ok to call Merkel a goatfucker and/or a pedophile?

    1. No, there are other laws against that as well. You also can’t insult religions or churches. In fact, even insulting each other in the privacy of your own howm is potentially actionable.

  21. So funny to watch the Islamic Caliphate battle the European Secular Caliphate. This will get really fun as Germany twists its ‘hate speech’ codes into an ungodly abomination. They are far more attached to their war on speech than we are to the drug war. It’s the only thing they’ve got, at this point.

    1. Germany doesn’t need to wage a “war on speech”, it never had free speech in the first place. Insulting religions, insulting political leaders, or saying anything that is offensive to large numbers of people is illegal and always has been.

  22. Are you single tonight? A lot of beautiful girls waiting for you to http://goo.gl/pI9ucn
    The best adult dating site!

    1. Are there goats on the site for Erdo?an?

  23. The Turkish government pressed for B?hmermann to be prosecuted and, to her shame, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has allowed the court proceedings to go forward.

    This might be surprising in a country that actually has free speech and a constitution that guarantees individual liberties. Germany is not such a country, never has been, and doesn’t look it ever will be. So, why should Merkel, stepping in the tradition of Bismarck and Hitler, lift a finger to defend free speech?

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