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Turkey celebrated incoming British prime minister Boris Johnson’s Turkish heritage on Wednesday, with politicians and media proclaiming that the “Ottoman grandson” could strengthen ties between two countries on Europe’s fringes. The former London mayor is the great-grandson of the Ottoman Empire’s last interior minister, Ali Kemal, and his ancestry has been a source of pride for many Turks. Despite his sometimes disparaging remarks about Turkey, including a crude limerick about President Tayyip Erdogan and demands in 2016 that Britain veto Turkey’s accession to the European Union, Johnson is affectionately referred to as “Boris the Turk” by some Turkish media. “Ottoman grandson becomes prime minister,” read a front-page headline of the opposition newspaper Sozcu. “For England, a prime minister with roots in Cankiri,” it said, referring to Kemal’s home province in central Turkey. Like Johnson, his great-grandfather was a journalist who went into government, a move that proved ill-fated. In the final days of the Ottoman Empire, Kemal was captured and lynched by nationalists fighting to establish the Turkish state. Erdogan congratulated Johnson on Twitter, adding that ties between Turkey and the United Kingdom were set to improve. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also congratulated him, sharing a video of Turkish reporters asking Johnson about his roots in Cankiri during a 2016 visit to Ankara. Demiroren News Agency quoted a resident of Cankiri’s Kalfat village as saying it was an honour that someone from their village had become prime minister, adding that Johnson owed his distinctive mop of blond hair to his…

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