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Turkish President Files Complaint Against German Comedian Over Satirical Poem

Prosecutors in Germany say Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has filed a complaint against a comedian who recited a satirical poem about him on German national television.

Public prosecutors in the western city of Mainz said in an April 11 statement that Erdogan had lodged a complaint against comedian Jan Boehmermann, who lampooned the Turkish leader on air as "a professional idiot" and suggested that he had performed sexual acts with animals.

The March 31 broadcast on Germany's public ZDF channel triggered a diplomatic spat between Berlin and Ankara.

The Turkish government had earlier called the poem unacceptable and said that Boehmermann, host of the late-night show Neo Magazin Royale, should be punished for insulting a head of state.

Prosecutors in Mainz had already launched a probe into Boehmermann and ZDF on suspicion of the crime of "offending foreign states' organs and representatives" following complaints by more than 20 people.

They said Erdogan's complaint would be examined in connection with the pending procedure.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on April 11 that freedom of speech and artistic expression is a non-negotiable right.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters