Boris Johnson to meet Turkey's Erdogan after ridiculing him in rhyme

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was due to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in Ankara on Tuesday.

Johnson was also set to visit the Turkish parliament building, which suffered damage during a failed coup attempt in July, and express Britain's solidarity with Turkey after the coup, the Foreign Ministry in Ankara said.

The meeting with Erdogan could be particularly uncomfortable as 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.

Johnson has Turkish roots: his great grandfather Ali Kemal was a politician and newspaper editor in the Ottoman empire. Kemal was also a poet.

Last update: Tue, 27/09/2016 - 10:18
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