UK foreign secretary to face Erdoğan after writing offensive poem

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Boris Johnson and Turkish EU Affairs Minister Ömer Çelik hold a press conference in Ankara on Monday.

Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary and former mayor of London, began his first official visit to Turkey on Monday and will meet with Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday after being named winner of Spectator magazine’s “President Tayyip Erdogan Offensive Poetry Competition” in May for a five-line entry that involved the Turkish president.

Speaking at a press conference along with Turkish EU Affairs Minister Ömer Çelik in Ankara on Monday, Johnson said: “We are happy in the United Kingdom to be one of the biggest recipients of Turkish goods. I am the proud owner of a digital, very well functioning, Turkish washing machine.”

Johnson said he envisioned a new partnership between the two countries following the Brexit vote, when the United Kingdom opted to leave the European Union and in which Johnson played a key role.

Referring to Johnson’s “Ottoman” roots, Çelik hailed him as a strong supporter of Turkey in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15.

Johnson’s great-grandfather was from the town of Kalfat in Çankırı province and was an opposition figure in the late Ottoman period who was lynched during Turkey’s War of Independence in the early 1920s.

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