Chancellor Angela Merkel said this morning that Germany has accepted a request from Turkey to seek prosecution of a German comedian who read out a sexually crude poem about Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on German television.

Under a section of Germany's criminal code, the government has to authorise prosecutors to pursue a case against the comedian, Jan Boehmermann, who is accused of insulting a foreign leader.

"There were different opinions between the coalition partners - the conservatives and the SPD [Social Democrats]," Ms Merkel told reporters at the Chancellery in Berlin.

"The outcome is that the German government will give the authorisation in the current case," she added, stressing that this was not a decision about the merits of the prosecution's case against Mr Boehmermann.