Boris Johnson Dismisses Turkey Poem, Eyes ‘Jumbo’ Trade Deal

(AFP) – British foreign minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday brushed off as “trivia” an offensive poem he wrote about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, boasting of the strength of Ankara-London ties even after Britain’s vote to leave EU. On his first visit to Turkey as top diplomat, Johnson called for a “jumbo free trade deal” with Ankara that would strengthen economic relations that take in everything from cakes to washing machines. Johnson, who is of partly Turkish ancestry, described Turkey as “the land of my fathers”, emphasising that relatives had worked in senior Turkish foreign ministry positions. The flamboyant former London mayor, who helped lead the successful campaign for Britain to leave the EU, had in May penned the winning entry in a competition on offensive poetry about Erdogan, published by the conservative British magazine The Spectator. But he said he was “delighted” the poem had not come up at all during talks since he arrived in Turkey earlier this week. He said what people in Turkey most wanted to hear after the failed July 15 coup was “about our committment to Turkey… and that is very strong.” “As for the trivia that you raised… it has not come up