Boris Johnson wins ′Erdogan Offensive Poetry Competition′ | News | DW | 19.05.2016
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Boris Johnson wins 'Erdogan Offensive Poetry Competition'

What rhymes with Ankara? Not much, but that didn't stop Conservative Boris Johnson's writing an Erdogan limerick. He won a competition by The Spectator magazine to show solidarity with German comedian Jan Böhmermann.

The former London mayor and current Conservative MP Boris Johnson won an irreverent competition in the weekly British news magazine The Spectator on Thursday for his limerick criticizing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Spectator editor Douglas Murray announced on the weekly's blog that Johnson, currently a leading light in the "Brexit" campaign, had won the competition.

"I think it a wonderful thing that a British political leader has shown that Britain will not bow before the putative caliph in Ankara," Murray wrote.

According to Murray, Johnson agreed to create a limerick for the competition during a joint interview with The Spectator and the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche, in which the Tory called the case against the German comedian Jan Böhmermann a "scandal."

"If somebody wants to make a joke about the love that flowers between the Turkish president and a goat, he should be able to do so in any European country, including Turkey," Johnson said.

His statement was shortly followed by the poem, which described Erdogan as a "young fellow from Ankara" who "sowed his wild oats / with the help of a goat / but didn't even stop to thankera."

The Spectator announced the "President Erdogan Insulting Poetry Competition" last month with a prize of 1,000 pounds (1,300 euros or $1,465) for the winner.

Böhmermann could still face criminal prosecution for reciting a poem jokingly accusing Erdogan of bestiality and pedophilia on German public television.

Erdogan has pressed charges in hundreds of cases in Turkey, and several beyond his borders, seeking criminal punishment for those who criticize him. Böhmermann's excessively lewd poem, parts of which are now the subject of an injunction in Germany, was itself a response to the Turkish head of state's lust for litigation on such matters.

The incident sparked a debate on press freedom in Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel's attitude toward Turkey.

Johnson, a journalist before becoming a politician, is a former editor for The Spectator and maintains close ties to the publication. Some consider him a potential candidate to one day take the lead of the Conservative Party, although he has gone against the government's official stance on the upcoming EU referendum.

mg/msh (AFP)

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