HAMBURG – A German court Friday restrained a TV comedian from reciting in full his so-called “defamatory poem” against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan which caused of a diplomatic row last year.

In the poem, broadcast in March 2016, satirist Jan Boehmermann accused Erdogan of bestiality and watching child porn, while gleefully admitting he was flouting legal limits to free speech as a deliberate provocation.

The Hamburg civil court, upholding a ruling from last May, refrained Boehmermann from repeating lengthy passages of the poem, objecting to 18 of its 24 lines.

It remarked that the claimant “does not have to accept insults or verbal abuse”, even if the offensive passages were clearly not intended to be taken seriously.

The Turkish leader had sought a complete ban on the poem.

Boehmermann’s performance sparked a row that badly soured Berlin-Ankara relations at a time when Turkey was vital to EU plans to stop the mass flow of migrants from the Middle East and Africa into the bloc, especially to Germany.

Erdogan had also sought to bring a criminal case against Boehmermann under a rarely enforced lese majeste law, but German prosecutors rejected the claim as they found the satire so exaggerated it could not be taken seriously.– APP