The markets might have been somewhat weary when the new British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson was elected by the Conservative party in the UK to succeed Theresa May in Downing Street, as the British pound took a dip, but some people in a remote Turkish village were celebrating. Why you may ask? Well, the new Prime Minister of the UK has Turkish origins! It might sound surprising, but it is absolutely true.
Kalfat is home to about 1,300 people, many of them farmers. The village lies about 100 kilometers north of Ankara, Turkey’s capital, and is the home village of Boris Johnson’s great grand father, Ali Kemal.
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.
Kemal’s son, Osman Wilfred, was raised by his grandmother, Margaret Johnson, in Britain.
Johnson explored his Turkish roots in a 2008 program, a BBC genealogy show “Who Do You Think You Are?” When he visited Turkey as foreign minister in 2016, Johnson said his family was from Kalfat.
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.
feature photo courtesy of Hürriyet Daily News
With information from voanews and reuters