Boris Johnson lauds Turkish washing machines during Ankara visit

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson took a moment to express admiration for Turkish washing machines on his first official visit to Ankara, where he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Tuesday.

Johnson - who also visited the Turkey's parliament building, which suffered damage during a July coup attempt - stressed the importance of a strong diplomatic relationship between the countries, even after Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

In his typical flamboyant style, Johnson praised the nation for producing his "beautiful, very well-functioning Turkish washing machine" during a press conference with Turkish EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik.

Johnson also referred to his Turkish roots, saying that his relationship to Celik was a "partnership between two Ottoman descendants." His great grandfather Ali Kemal was a politician and newspaper editor in the Ottoman Empire.

There was speculation before the visit about whether Johnson's meeting with Erdogan would be affected by the fact that Johnson called the Turkish president a "wankerer" in a verse he wrote shortly before his shock appointment as foreign minister two months ago.

Johnson wrote the verse in response to Erdogan's legal complaint against a German satirist who read out a poem on live television that purposely insulted the Turkish president as a protest against his oppression of free speech in Turkey.

Johnson also recently criticized Erdogan for oppressing free speech in the Turkish media.

In November, Johnson expressed sympathy for the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey and the European Union have labelled a terrorist organization.

Johnson paid a visit to Syrian refugees in a camp in Nizip in the south-eastern Turkish province of Gaziantep on Monday at the start of his visit to Turkey, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the same camp in April.

Last update: Tue, 27/09/2016 - 21:19
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