BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union on Wednesday criticized Ankara for summoning Berlin’s envoy over a song mocking the Turkish leader on German TV, a friction at a delicate time when the bloc counts on Turkey’s help on migration under a controversial deal.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry summoned Germany’s ambassador over a satirical broadcast by German television station NDR, which ran a two-minute satirical song mocking Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan earlier this month.
“This move doesn’t seem to be in line with upholding the freedom of the press and freedom expression, which are values the EU cherishes a lot,” Mina Andreeva, a spokeswoman for the European Union’s executive arm, told a daily news briefing.
The spokeswoman added the European Commission’s head Jean-Claude Juncker “believes this moves Turkey further (away) from the EU rather than closer to us.”
Right groups and the West regularly criticize Ankara for its track record on human rights but the 27-nation EU has still sealed a deal with Ankara on March 18 to return all migrants and refugees reaching European shores from the Turkish coast.
Berlin, the key driving force behind the Turkish deal, has said press freedom was non-negotiable in its ties with Ankara.
The EU hopes the migration agreement, badly criticized by rights groups, would give it breathing space as it struggles to control an influx of people fleeing wars and poverty in the Middle East and beyond.
Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska