Watch: ‘Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan’ — The Video That Made Turkey Mad Enough to Summon the German Ambassador
- By Benjamin SolowayBenjamin Soloway is an assistant editor at Foreign Policy. He worked previously in Indonesia as a web editor and Princeton in Asia journalism fellow at the Jakarta Globe. He has also lived in Brazil and Turkey. His work has been published in the Boston Globe, the New Republic, USA Today, the Washington Post, and elsewhere. He studied history at Wesleyan University.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doesn’t like being made fun of by anyone — not by people sitting at home in front of their televisions, not by Internet trolls who created a meme comparing him to Lord of the Rings character Gollum, not by the journalists he has imprisoned at an alarming rate, and not by Germany.
That’s why the Turkish Foreign Ministry formally summoned German Ambassador Martin Erdmann to discuss “Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan,” a song and video that aired on Extra 3, a satire program on German public broadcaster NDR.
The video shows footage of Erdogan’s most absurd public moments, intercut with crackdowns on protesters. “Equal rights for women: beaten up equally,” the song goes, as police beat women with batons.
Despite mounting human rights abuses, Germany can’t afford to be too hard on Turkey these days, with a refugee deal on the line. Turkey has agreed to take back refugees who reach Greece by boat, in exchange for the resettlement of refugees currently in Turkey and other concessions by the EU.
By summoning Germany’s ambassador, Erdogan has continued efforts to extend the reach of his crackdown on free speech beyond Turkey’s borders. This month, Der Spiegel, the magazine that broke the story of the diplomatic spat over the video, had to withdraw its Istanbul correspondent over concerns about the government’s treatment of the press.
Image credit: Extra 3/YouTube