Merkel criticized, lauded for allowing comic's prosecution

Observers say decision will highlight independence of Germany's judicial system.

Carsten Koall/Getty Images

Carsten Koall/Getty Images

BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to allow the possible prosecution of a TV comic for writing an intentionally offensive poem about Turkey’s president has prompted a mixed reaction in Germany.

Some commentators are praising her, saying Friday’s decision to let prosecutors and courts decide whether comedian Jan Boehmermann insulted a foreign head of state will highlight the independence of Germany’s judicial system.

Others voiced sharp criticism Saturday, saying Merkel appeared to be kowtowing before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan because she needs his help to stop further migrants coming to Europe.

The head of ZDF television, where Boehermann’s poem was aired two weeks ago, said the public broadcaster would support the comic “all the way.” Thomas Bellut told weekly Der Spiegel that in legal terms the poem was a borderline case.