UK's next PM Johnson's Ottoman roots
Brexit hardliner Boris Johnson, whose family roots reach back to an Ottoman interior minister Ali Kemal, won the contest to lead Britain's governing Conservative Party on July 23 and will become the country's next prime minister, tasked with fulfilling his promise to lead the U.K. out of the European Union.
Johnson resoundingly defeated rival Jeremy Hunt, winning two thirds of the votes in a ballot of about 160,000 Conservative members. He will be installed as prime minister in a formal handover from Theresa May on July 24.
In a brief speech on July 23 meant to rally the party faithful, Johnson radiated optimism, and pledged to deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat the Labour opposition.
"I think we know that we can do it and that the people of this country are trusting in us to do it and we know that we will do it," he said.
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations and said Johnson will be "great."
Trump has been very critical of May's inability to achieve a Brexit deal and has said Johnson will do a better job.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also congratulated Johnson and wished him success as prime minister.
"I congratulate @BorisJohnson, who became the U.K.'s 77th prime minister, and wish him success in his new position," he tweeted on July 23.
"I believe Turkish-United Kingdom relations will develop further in this new era."
Johnson, a former London mayor, has wooed Conservatives by promising to succeed where May failed and lead the U.K. out of the European Union on the scheduled date of Oct. 31 - with or without a divorce deal.
Several Conservative ministers have already announced they will resign to fight any push for a "no-deal" Brexit, an outcome economists warn would disrupt trade and plunge the U.K. into recession.
Fears that Britain is inching closer to a "no-deal" Brexit weighed on the pound once again on July 23.
The currency was down another 0.3 percent at $1.2441 and near two-year lows.
May stepped down after Britain's Parliament repeatedly rejected the withdrawal agreement she struck with the 28-nation bloc. Johnson insists he can get the EU to renegotiate - something the bloc insists it will not do.
If not, he says Britain must leave the EU on Halloween, "come what may."
Johnson will preside over a House of Commons in which most members oppose leaving the EU without a deal, and where the Conservative Party lacks an overall majority.
After Johnson's win, Michel Barnier, the European Union's chief Brexit negotiator, said he looked forward "to working constructively" with the new Conservative leader.
Johnson's Turkish roots
Johson's great-grandfather Ali Kemal was an Ottoman journalist and politician who served
for three months as interior minister in the government of Damat Ferit Pasha.
An opponent of the 1919-1923 Turkish War of Independence, Ali Kemal lived in exile
Born in 1964, Johnson received his education at Eton College, an elite British private school that produced numerous British prime ministers, including David Cameron, who ordered the Brexit
Johnson studied classics at Oxford University and was elected president of the Oxford Union in 1986.
The 55-year old comes from a wealthy upper-middle class British family. He is the eldest son of Stanley Johnson, a British politician who was a Conservative member of the European Parliament from 1979 to 1984.