A German court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan after he was denied an injunction to prevent the chief executive of Europe’s largest newspaper publisher Axel Springer from repeating an insulting poem, Reuters reports.
In an open letter published in April, Mathias Doepfner expressed his support for German comedian Jan Boehmermann, who is being investigated by prosecutors for reading a crude satirical poem about Erdogan on television in March.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been widely criticized for allowing German prosecutors to pursue a case against Boehmermann at the behest of Erdogan, a key partner in her effort to stem the flow of refugees from Turkey into Europe.
German-Turkish ties have also been strained by Turkey’s outrage over resolution passed by Germany’s parliament declaring the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a genocide..
The appeals court in Cologne said it had upheld the ruling in May from the lower court which rejected a preliminary injunction against Doepfner, saying his comments constituted acceptable expressions of opinion and were protected under German freedom of speech laws.
The court said no further appeals were possible, although Erdogan could still file a constitutional complaint. Such complaints are seldom upheld.