Erdogan-critic Boris Johnson heads to Turkey on official visit

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a past critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, may have to walk a diplomatic tightrope on Sunday as he makes his first visit to Ankara.

Two months before his surprise appointment to a senior cabinet post, Johnson called Erdogan a "wankerer" as part of a humorous verse competition, for which he won first prize.

He has also said that Erdogan was responsible for "a chilling suppression of Turkish freedom of expression," and in the past expressed sympathy with the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

He is unlikely to deploy the same language when he meets Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu during what the Turkish Foreign Ministry said would be a three-day visit.

Johnson, who himself has Turkish heritage, is scheduled to visit parliament in a trip intended to demonstrate Britain's solidarity with Turkey following a failed coup in mid-July.

The failed coup in Turkey was following by a sweeping purge of public services, and the sacking and investigating of tens of thousands of officials.

Last update: Sun, 25/09/2016 - 16:42

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