ANKARA - Turkey summoned Germany's ambassador to protest a two-minute song lampooning President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that was broadcast on German television, a diplomatic source told AFP on Tuesday.

"We summoned the ambassador last week to communicate our protest about the broadcast that we condemned," the source told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We demanded that the broadcast is removed from the air."

German regional television NDR on March 17 broadcast the sardonic song - "Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan" - ridiculing the Turkish president, his alleged extravagant spending and crackdown on civil liberties. The government vehemently denies that the crackdown targets Turkey's Kurdish minority, saying it is only aimed at wiping out "terrorists".

Erdogan's govt has been accused by critics of authoritarianism and muzzling critical media as well as lawmakers, academics, lawyers and non-govt groups.

EU heavyweight Germany sees Turkey as main partner in tackling a wave of refugees landing at Europe's borders, with Chancellor Angela Merkel saying Brussels wants Ankara's help on the issue. But Merkel has also said it will stick to its values and keep insisting on civil and minority rights in Turkey.

German news weekly Der Spiegel said this month it had to withdraw its Istanbul correspondent and charged that Turkey was violating the freedom of the press.

Several diplomats from EU member states, including the German envoy, last week attended the trial of two journalists facing espionage charges, drawing the ire of Erdogan who accused the diplomats of overstepping their powers.

Using a hugely controversial legal article, almost 2,000 people have been prosecuted for "insulting" Erdogan since the former premier became president in August 2014.